Man faces 40 years for sexual assault

Published 4:18 pm Sunday, February 2, 2014

An Edwardsburg man faces up to 40 years in a Michigan penitentiary for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old family member.

Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Kevin Berkey, 36, to a maximum of 40 years in prison for three charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct Friday. Berkey pleaded guilty in November to having sexual intercourse with the underage girl three times last summer.

“This is a dark and disturbing crime,” said Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz. “Especially since it includes the molestation of a minor member of one’s household.”

While Berkey was sentenced for the three acts that occurred in Cass County, he assaulted the victim multiple times in the past outside the county, Fitz said. Berkey had even taken her with him during a three-month excursion in his semi, where he took advantage of her isolation, the prosecutor added.

“This is intolerable in our society,” Fitz said. “The defendant is a danger and menace to the most vulnerable members of our society.”

During his remarks to Berkey prior to delivering his sentencing, Judge Dodge pointed that the victim was taking medication for schizophrenia and depression at the time of incidents.

“I think you did take advantage of a vulnerable victim,” he said.

While Berkey’s defense attorney attempted to argue that the details of incidents that occurred outside of Cass County shouldn’t influence his sentencing, Dodge disagreed, sentencing him at the top of state guidelines.

“By exploiting this vulnerable victim, you have no doubt caused untold psychological damage that she will be dealing with the rest of her life,” Dodge said.

Also sentenced Friday:

• David Golliher, 53, of Cassopolis, to two years probation for methamphetamine related charges. He is required to complete the county’s family treatment program, as well as pay a $500 fine. His driver’s license will also be suspended for 180 days.

• Creigon Monrroy, 34, of Dowagiac, to a maximum of 30 years prison for multiple charges, including operating and maintaining a meth lab. He was given 116 days credit for time served.

• Ryan Ridenour, 21, of Dowagiac, to three years probation for meth related charges. He is required to serve 120 days in the Twin County Probation Center program. His driver’s license will also be suspended for 365 days.

• Robert Allen, 24, of Edwardsburg, to two years probation for possession of cocaine. His driver’s license will also be suspended for 365 days.