Niles man who repeatedly abused victims sentenced
NILES — A man who molested children on multiple occasions was sentenced to prison for the crimes Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.
Sean Platz, 36, of Niles, was found guilty by a jury verdict. He was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under 13 and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under 13.
Judge Charles LaSata sentenced him to serve 25 to 70 years in prison. He was also sentenced 71 months to 15 years in prison for each of the remaining three charges. The sentences will be served concurrently. Should he be released from prison, Platz was ordered to be on lifetime electronic monitoring. Platz has credit for 175 days served. He was ordered to pay $462 in fines and costs.
According to court records, Platz committed the crimes from January 2015 to September 2017 at a location in Niles.
Prosecutor Jane Wainwright said the defendant’s actions were particularly heinous given the acts he committed and the young age of the victims, the youngest of which was 4 years old.
“Given that, he deserves every bit of the minimum sentence of 25 years, if not more,” Wainwright said.
During the trial, two of Platz’s three victims were able to testify. Wainwright alleged that the third victim was so traumatized by the abuse experienced that they could not testify.
Scott Sanford, Platz’s defense attorney, argued that the victim had endured other abuse at the hands of another perpetrator and that sole blame could not be placed on his client.
Platz declined the opportunity to say anything when given the chance by LaSata to do so.
LaSata said Platz’s trial had been tough to sit through and he described the testimony he heard as “horrific.”
“You are a twisted, evil person,” LaSata said. “You assaulted these young victims in the most heinous way. Quite frankly, it’s a pleasure to send you to prison here today to protect the community.”
LaSata also recognized the jury for bringing justice to Platz’s victims.
“This is a terrible situation for everyone involved, but the jurors got it right,” LaSata said.
Also on Monday:
• Nicholas Vantuyl, 20, of Battle Creek, pleaded guilty Sept. 19 to third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The offense occurred on April 4, at a residence in Niles.
According to court records, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department responded to the residence for a belated criminal sexual conduct offense, involving a 15-year-old victim.
LaSata sentenced Vantuyl to serve 210 days in jail and five years of felony probation. Vantuyl has credit for 62 days served.
• Bronson Meadows, 26, of South Bend, was sentenced to 91 days in jail, after he was charged with attempted breaking and entering a building. He pleaded guilty to the crime in September.