First Degree CSC and "Me Too" - When a Second Accuser Surfaces

First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct chargers in Michigan are the most serious of all of the Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct under Michigan law. The penalties for First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct are up to LIFE in Prison, and in many cases, a mandatory minimums of 25 years, lifetime on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SORA), and lifetime tether.

In this article, Detroit Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain of Prain Law, PLLC discusses First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges in the context of the “Me Too Movement" currently sweeping the nation. Specifically, how does Michigan law apply to someone facing First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges where the alleged victim is a "minor," and at some time during the investigation or Court case, a second alleged victim surfaces saying “Me Too,” claiming that they were also sexually assaulted by the accused?

First, though, it is necessary to clear up something: Michigan First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges are referred to by many different names for short, including:

  • "First Degree CSC" / "CSC First Degree"
  • "CSC 1st Degree" / "1st Degree CSC"
  • "1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct" / "Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree"
  • "CSC 1", and more...

All of these terms are used interchangeably to refer to this exact same criminal charge officially titled Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree under MCL 750.520b.

RELATED: Can I be convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree based just on HEARSAY?

RELATED: Should I take a Polygraph in my Criminal Sexual Conduct case?  

When we talk about the “Me Too Movement," we are referring to what has been described as an outpouring of claims of past sexual assault by people who state that they previously did not to come forward and tell their story, but now feel encouraged by others doing so. Many of these Sex Crimes allegations have been made against celebrities such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, R. Kelly, and others. At Prain Law, PLLC, we absolutely support true offenders being brought to justice and we encourage any and all true reports. At the same time, our commitment is to fight for the innocently accused. One does not have to take sides to realize that there is also a national epidemic of false allegations of sexual assault being made.

As it turns out, Michigan law has some specific provisions that deal precisely with the scenario where a person is facing Criminal Sexual Conduct charges after being accused by one person, and a second accuser arises claiming to also have been sexually assaulted by the accused. First, we must point out that there are two broad categories of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree charges that apply here:

  1. Those where the accuser is a “minor“ at the time of the alleged offense, defined as someone under age 18; and

  2. All other types of CSC 1 charges (Michigan First Degree CSC charges can be based and many different "multiple variables," which concern a wide range of allegations, such as sexual penetration on a minor under age 13, or, regardless of age, sexual penetration by "force or coercion" which causes “personal injury“).

In a case where the main alleged victim of the charges is a “minor,“ the Michigan legislature has an acted a specific law, MCL 768.27a, to deal with this situation:

"768.27a Evidence that defendant committed another listed offense against minor; admissibility; disclosure of evidence to defendant; definitions.

Sec. 27a.

(1) Notwithstanding section 27, in a criminal case in which the defendant is accused of committing a listed offense against a minor, evidence that the defendant committed another listed offense against a minor is admissible and may be considered for its bearing on any matter to which it is relevant. If the prosecuting attorney intends to offer evidence under this section, the prosecuting attorney shall disclose the evidence to the defendant at least 15 days before the scheduled date of trial or at a later time as allowed by the court for good cause shown, including the statements of witnesses or a summary of the substance of any testimony that is expected to be offered.

(2) As used in this section:

(a) "Listed offense" means that term as defined in section 2 of the sex offenders registration act, 1994 PA 295, MCL 28.722.

(b) "Minor" means an individual less than 18 years of age."

What this essentially means is that if the Prosecution can show that evidence of the other alleged sexual assault by the second accuser, usually in the form of testimony from that second accuser, is “relevant,“ then the Jury will hear about it as long as the Judge decides that its probative value is not substantially outweighed by it's prejudicial effect. There's a little more to it than that, but this is what is sometimes referred to as a “balancing test“ under Michigan Rule of Evidence (MRE) 403.

Where the alleged victim of the First Degree CSC charges is NOT a "minor," then the above law does not apply. In that case, the "evidence" of the new accuser's claims could still be admitted at trial, but it will be evaluated instead under the basic Michigan Rules of Evidence, particularly MRE404(b), which reads as follows:

"(b) Other crimes, wrongs, or acts.

(1) Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, scheme, plan, or system in doing an act, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident when the same is material, whether such other crimes, wrongs, or acts are contemporaneous with, or prior or subsequent to the conduct at issue in the case.

(2) The prosecution in a criminal case shall provide written notice at least 14 days in advance of trial, or orally on the record later if the court excuses pretrial notice on good cause shown, of the general nature of any such evidence it intends to introduce at trial and the rationale, whether or not mentioned in subparagraph (b)(1), for admitting the evidence. If necessary to a determination of the admissibility of the evidence under this rule, the defendant shall be required to state the theory or theories of defense, limited only by the defendant's privilege against self-incrimination."

As you see from above, in any case where the prosecution intends to introduce this evidence, they have to provide notice and the substance of the evidence to the Defendant at least 15 days before trial. In appropriate cases, the Defense should file a written Objection and request a hearing on the matter to challenge the admissibility of these new claims by someone else. However, even if the evidence is ultimately admitted by the Judge, an experienced Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Lawyer can overcome this challenge.

RELATED: Click here to learn about the Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Court Process.

Also, whenever this type of evidence is admitted, the Judge will read a special Michigan CSC Jury Instruction which limits the purposes for which they jurors may consider this evidence when deciding their verdict, cautioning them to carefully consider ti and not to convict the accused of the actual Criminal Sexual Conduct charges they are facing simply because they believe the person is guilty of other sexual assaults.

RELATED: Will I go to Jail for Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree in Michigan?  

Of course on top of this, there is always the possibility that the Prosecuting authority in the appropriate County where the second alleged victim claims to have been assaulted could bring completely separate criminal charges. Often times though, the Prosecution does not add additional charges, but simply files the aforementioned Notice of Intent 15 days before trial to use the testimony of the other alleged victim to further influence the Jury to find the accused guilty. Often times, these new allegations of Criminal Sexual Conduct by someone else seem to pop up at a very convenient moment for the Prosecution, such as right after they have lost on an important Motion or evidence issue that gives the Defense an advantage at the upcoming trial. Sometimes, it just seems a little too convenient for the government...

For all of these reasons and many more, if you or someone that you know is facing First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges in Michigan, it is absolutely essential to speak to the best Michigan CSC Defense Attorney immediately. The decisions being made right now at this stage of the case will mean the difference between someone spending a life behind bars and getting their life back and living the rest of life as a free individual.

Top rated Detroit Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain of Prain Law, PLLC has an impeccable record of repeated victories, and his clients are found NOT GUILTY of Criminal Sexual Conduct again and again. While most attorneys never try a Capital case like CSC 1, Brian successfully tries these cases to Juries across Michigan one after another. You'll see right away that Brian is NOT like other lawyers, and that's why many of the calls Prain Law receives are from people facing CSC charges who are unhappy with their current lawyer, and they're afraid and looking for someone who'll work hard for them. Brian has been awarded again and again, including:
Contact Prain Law, PLLC anytime at (248) 731-4543, or via email by using our custom Contact Form.
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