Dowagiac man gets five years for CSCPublished 9:19am Tuesday, August 18, 2009
By NORMA LERNER
Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS – Thomas Ashby, 20, of 502 Vineyard Place, Dowagiac, will spend the next five years on probation after he first spends 180 days in the Cass County Jail for second-degree criminal sexual conduct against a young girl under the age of 16. He is also to register as a sex offender.
He will have restrictions during his probationary period and will not be allowed work release or tether while serving his jail time. He was given credit for 45 days served.
Friday morning in Cass County Circuit Court, Judge Michael Dodge said Ashby was 19 at the time the sexual encounter took place on May 1. He told him that the offense occurred to satisfy his own sexual desires.
“You should have known better.” Dodge told Ashby. He said it would impact her for years to come. This was known as statutory rape, he said, noting Ashby has no prior record.
Defense attorney John Magyar said his client said it was a stupid act and admitted it was his own fault. He said the defendant cannot undo what he has done. He has been jailed since the occurrence and has had no contact with the victim. He said this will affect him and his employment and that he is immature himself for his age. He asked for sentencing within the guidelines
Prosecutor Victor Fitz said the occurrence was devastating to the girl’s mother and father. “What he did was wrong. He acknowledged it. There is a price to pay for it. He did change her life and changed it forever. He stole her youth.” Fitz said the mother has had to seek treatment for depression. Fitz asked that he have no contact with minors.
Ashby was ordered to pay $1,178 costs.
Other sentencings are as follows:
• James Hance Jr., 20, 817 Leet Road, Niles, received 365 days jail each for conspiracy to commit second-degree home invasion and home invasions second degree for entering 13 homes with three companions on Feb. 28, 2007, on Diamond Island on Diamond Lake, Cassopolis. Hance and the co-defendants stole or damaged extensive items. He is to pay a share of restitution of $8,975 and costs of $996.
• Anthony Smith, 40, 717 Edison St., South Bend, Ind. received 330 days jail for possession of cocaine less than 25 grams on Sept. 2 on Redfield Street, Niles. He is to pay $1,282 costs.
• Megan Kelly, 23, 2413 Bow Court, South Bend, Ind. received two years probation and credit for time served of 12 days for possession of cocaine less than 25 grams on Michigan-62 in Edwardsburg. She is to pay $1,168 costs.
• Joseph Oliver, 43, 303 Chestnut S., Dowagiac, got three years probation plus 90 days jail each for possession with intent to deliver marijuana and delivery/manufacturing marijuana on June 30 in Dowagiac. He is to pay costs of $1,356.
• Kiernan Sharpe, 18, 5961 Old Pipestone Road, Eau Claire, received 120 days jail for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver June 27 in Dowagiac. He is to pay $928 costs and may be released after serving 90 days if he pays his costs in full.