Counselors sentenced for sexual assault

Published 7:22 am Tuesday, January 16, 2007

By By NORMA LERNER / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS – Two camp counselors at Camp Wagner in Calvin Township who simulated sex acts with young boys received probation periods in Cass County Circuit Court Friday morning.
Lyle Simpson, 19, of Indianapolis, received 18 months probation on a conviction of 4th-degree criminal sexual conduct while Jordan Barnes, 18, of Chicago, received two years of probation for the same offense.
Circuit Court Judge Michael Dodge pronounced the sentences, saying Barnes was "more seriously involved." He said, however, that the men were both legally responsible for the offense. Barnes also received 90 days jail suspended for six months, but he will go to jail at the end of the six months if he does not comply with the terms of his probation. Barnes is also to take steps to receive appropriate counseling.
Both men are to register with the Michigan Sex Offender registration.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jason Ronning said there were three teenaged boys and a nine-year-old boy who was present at the time of the offense but not involved except for a "pat on the head." Ronning added there were heavy sexual overtones but no penetration during the simulated sex acts, but there was inappropriate touching.
A third camp employee recorded a video of the acts by use of a cell phone camera, Ronning said.
Barnes sat at the defense table with his head hung low during his sentencing but did say he was "really sorry." Simpson indicated he was sorry in a mumbled voice.
Last July, Dodge recounted, the young men were employed as camp counselors. He said they abused their authority by harassing three young boys, one aged 15 and two 14-year-olds, with acts similar to college hazing that turned into simulated sex acts and touching.
"It was not something [young boys] should be subjected to. The acts were criminal sexual conduct," Dodge said.
Both men were ordered to pay $570 in court costs.