Darren Briggs (Worker)

Huron Daily Tribune January 7, 2010 http://www.michigansthumb.com/articles/2010/01/07/news/police_-_courts/doc4b45d93aa7614367236811.txt

NY man enters plea

A New York man pled no contest to a criminal sexual conduct charge when he appeared for arraignment.

Darren Jay Briggs, 36, of Syracuse, NY will be sentenced on the fourth degree criminal sexual conduct charge on Feb. 8. A second charge of criminal sexual conduct second degree will be dismissed at sentencing. Bond in the case was continued.

Huron Daily Tribune February 9, 2010 http://www.michigansthumb.com/articles/2010/02/09/news/police_-_courts/doc4b715c17bc564579368752.txt

Briggs sentenced to jail time for CSC

By Kate Hessling Tribune Staff Writer Published: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 8:18 AM EST

BAD AXE — A 36-year-old New York man on Monday was sentenced to 180 days in jail for a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge stemming from an incident that occurred in November 2006 with a then-11-year-old boy living in the Bingham Township home where the man had been staying through a non-denominational Christian organization.

During Monday’s sentencing, a charge against Darren Jay Briggs, 36, of Syracuse, N.Y. of assault to commit second-degree sexual conduct was dismissed.

Huron County Prosecutor Timothy J. Rutkowski explained it was part of a plea bargain where Briggs would plead guilty to a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge in exchange for having the second-degree charge, which is a five-year felony, dismissed.

Rutkowski explained the charges occurred on or about Nov. 12, 2006 at a Bingham Township home where Briggs had been staying through a non-denominational Christian ministry. He said there were three instances, according to the victim, of inappropriate behavior that resulted after the victim and Briggs were wrestling.

Huron County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Dawn A. Schumacher told the court during Monday’s sentencing that the prosecution felt this was a premeditated crime, and that Briggs exhibited predatory behavior by using his position of trust to get access to the child. She said he used his position of trust to become a guest in the family’s home and then engaged the boy in wrestling matches that, in his own words, featured “special holds.”

On behalf of his client, Mitchell Nelson, of the Johnson Law Group in White Lake, said Briggs was not in the ministry to get to anyone. Rather, Nelson said, Briggs was in it to spread the Gospel to families. He said this is the first criminal sexual conduct offense Briggs has ever committed and it will be the last.

The prosecution was not satisfied, and Schumacher noted that once Briggs learned the child had told his parents of what went on, Briggs fled to New York with the assistance of others in the ministry. Following Monday’s hearing, Rutkowski elaborated on this, saying that at the time the ministry learned of what transpired in Michigan, a representative from the ministry advised him to be taken to his parents in New York and he no longer is part of the ministry.

He said his office first received this case on April 15, 2009. Briggs was charged April 21, 2009. However, because he was no longer in the state, it was difficult for officials to find Briggs until he turned himself in last fall, Rutkowski said.

Based on his conduct, and the fact that Briggs had been involved in the ministry for more than nine years without ever having an offense like this, Huron County Circuit Court Judge M. Richard Knoblock said he does not believe Briggs’ involvement in the ministry was a facade to get to a child.

Therefore, he sentenced Briggs to spend 180 days in jail, with credit of one day he’s already served. Knoblock also said Briggs will have to pay a variety of court fines and fees.

Kate Hessling • (989) 269-6461 • khessling@hearstnp.com

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