Missed work, home security systems and travel to and from school, court and counseling appointments – among other expenses – added up to approximately $40,000 each for two families seeking restitution from a Brighton Township teen who admitted to sexual assault last year.
The mothers of two of the three girls who are victims in the case spent most of Tuesday testifying about both the tangible expenses and the ongoing trauma connected to the assaults.
The third family is not involved in the case.
The 16-year-old boy, who the Livingston Daily is not identifying because his case was adjudicated in Livingston County Juvenile Court, was released from a juvenile facility Jan. 11.
He was originally charged with 31 felonies in connection with assaults on the three teen girls, including a combined 20 counts of first and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is currently at home on a GPS tether.
On Tuesday, the mother of one of the girls testified she runs her own business and works from home, but had to drop most of her clients to care for her daughter who, she said, began suffering from severe anxiety attacks and depression following the assaults.
The girl’s mother said her income dropped to a fraction of what she earned the previous year, as, instead of working, she took her daughter to and from counseling appointments, court hearings and spent time researching ways to help her daughter deal with the trauma.
“I didn’t want to (tell her), ‘I understand,’ because I’ve never been sexually assaulted,” she said. “I don’t know how she feels.”
“I’ve been a single mom my whole life,” she added, noting her younger child suffers from fear as result of the incidents. “I worked and worked and worked to provide for my children…for the first time in my life, I needed to not work to provide my kids with what they needed.”
Both mothers said they used state guidelines in assessing the amount of requested restitution.
A criminal restitution order does not preclude a victim’s right to seek restitution through civil litigation.
The second mother to testify Tuesday said she and her husband, who also own their own business, lost numerous hours at work for similar tasks: driving to and from therapy appointments – provided to both girls free through LACASA – court hearings and to and from school.
“She indicated she doesn’t feel safe on the bus because…he was allowed to get off at her stop several times,” the mother said. “He entered my home without invitation and raped my daughter.”
They also hired a lawyer to prevent the personal protection order in place against the boy from being lifted or altered.
Both mothers said they felt a home security system was necessary to keep their families safe, and testified about ongoing harassment from the boy’s mother.
One of the girls’ mothers said the boy’s mother drove by her home and “flipped her off” following a court hearing.
“That’s not something normal people do,” she said. “’After your son admitted to assaulting my daughter, how dare you drive by my house and give me the finger?’ It felt like a threat.”
She provided photos of the incident as evidence.
The girls’ mothers also testified the boy’s mother bullied and harassed their daughters at public events, in the hallways of the courthouse and in the courtroom, when she was “laughing…and cackling out loud,” as the girls gave victim impact statements.
Attorney Chuck Widmaier, who represented the boy during the restitution hearing, said the mother’s behavior was irrelevant to the restitution matter.
Assistant Prosecutor Marilyn Bradford disagreed, saying the mother’s behavior demonstrates an “ongoing concern for the safety” of the girls.
The boy’s mother denied any contact with the girls and said the allegations against her were untrue.
“No clue what that’s about,” she said, noting the allegations “never, ever, ever happened.”
“I have never confronted these people, ever, “ she said, adding, rather, that one of the girls’ mothers had threatened her. She also said multiple police reports filed against her were false.
After several hours of testimony, Juvenile Court Referee Chelsea Thomason said she would review the restitution request and issue in a written order for review and approval by Circuit Court Judge David Reader.
In a deal worked out between his attorney and the Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office, the teen pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of accosting a minor for immoral purposes, and four counts of possession of child sexually explicit material.
In October was ordered to spend 45 days in a juvenile facility in Monroe County. His delayed release was related to an incomplete psychological evaluation and safety plan.
Contact reporter Laura Colvin at 517-552-2848 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: @LauraColvin22