Brighton high schooler charged with 20 sex assaults gets 45 days in juvenile center in plea deal
BRIGHTON, Mich. (WJBK) - A community in Livingston County is feeling defeated that a teenager once charged with 31 felonies - including 20 counts of sexual assaults - will only spend 45 days in a juvenile facility as part of a plea deal.
The victims and their families now fear what will happen when the teen gets out, which is now just weeks away and counting.
The suspect, who FOX 2 is not naming because he was charged as a juvenile, was just 14 years old when he sexually assaulted his youngest victim at 12 years old.
In every case, the girls claim the teen manipulated them, sometimes forcing himself into their homes, and always forcing himself onto them. A small group of parents in Brighton are now forever joined together, knowing what happened to their daughters.
"He did this to all the girls. He would infiltrate their social media, get all their friends and go to work. He's a predator. Without a doubt, he is a predator," says Bryan.
"[He] shoved her down on the ground, and the whole time she kept telling him, 'This isn't a good idea. I don't want to do this,'" says Debra.
"He basically overtook her with his size and strength, then apologized profusely and begged to come to see her in person to apologize because he was so sorry for what he had done to her - and then he raped her again," says Jackie.
Their young girls found the strength to come foward and take their case to police. The Livingston County prosecutor originally charged the teen as a juvenile with 31 felonies, including 20 counts of sexual assault.
But last week, the families learned the Brighton high school student was pleading guilty to just six felonies as part of a plea deal.
Then, despite emotional impact statements from the girls, he was only sentenced to 45 days at a Monroe youth facility. He will then return home, and possibly undergo out patient sex rehab.
"She has a life sentence; all of these girls do. And, to give him 45 days doesn't even seem fair to what these girls have gone through," says Ashley.
"Now my kid feels like she's been raped all over again because she had to stand up in court and say things, and give her statement and speak to him. It's an unfair sentence," Debra says.
The daughters of all these parents are now suffering emotionally, and are forced to deal with the social media backlash bullying from their peers. The families now fear what will happen when his time is up at the juvenile facility.
"He has practiced the same M.O. and has practiced the same tactics with multiple young girls," says Jackie. "[I'm worried] he's going to continue to offend and that's the thing that all of our girls were most concerned about."
The families say they know of several more young victims who have not come forward. All of them say they do not like how the cases were handled, and believe the prosecutor's office went for an "easy win" instead of getting justice for the girls.
"He didn't act like a child; he acted like an adult. He should've been charged as an adult," Zaplitny says.
The victims and their parents were told there would be four separate trials and the girls would have to testify, and that the process could take years. They were against a trial at that point, but now, given the possible option of a better outcome, they say they wish they would've taken the matter to trial.
A judge will be ruling soon on whether or not to send the teen through sex rehab.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.