Edwardsburg teen found with sexually abuse material will have a chance to keep his record clean

CASSOPOLIS – An Edwardsburg teen found with sexually abusive materials has a chance to keep a child pornography conviction off his record if he is successful on probation.

An 18-year-old Edwardsburg resident pleaded guilty to possession of child sexually abusive materials under the Holmes Youthful Training Act and was sentenced to three years’ probation, credit for three days in jail already served and $2,838 in fines and costs. He is required to register as a sex offender during his probation.

The incident occurred Jan. 31 when Edwardsburg police were called to Edwardsburg High School after high school staff discovered that the teen had explicit photos of 12 different underage girls. The investigation showed that he was given some of the photos by the girls themselves, and none of the photos were taken by a hidden camera.

Five other counts of possession of child sexually abusive materials were dismissed.

A similar incident occurred when he was 16 and was handled by school administrators without any police involvement.

Defense attorney Kurt Richardson said his client has been proactive in getting counseling, has no prior record and was cooperative with police.

“He has been entirely cooperative. He doesn’t have a predator type personality,” he said. “This truly was a mistake of youth, he didn’t grasp the seriousness.”

For his part, the teen said he felt deeply embarrassed and apologized to the girls. He plans to attend Indiana State University in the fall. On prodding from Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz, the 18-year-old said he will cooperate further with police as to who else was involved.

“If you complete your probation, the court will dismiss this from your record,” Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman said. “You will no longer have to register under the sex offender registry. Obviously, it will have a major impact on your ability to move around and have a career.”

“This is an opportunity not given often, you need to thank your attorney and the prosecutor for their willingness to give you this opportunity,” the judge added. “You may not appreciate it at your age, but this could have a major impact on your life in the future.”

A Dowagiac man will be spending more time in jail after being sentenced for possession of methamphetamines and cocaine.

Ryan Anthony Haskins, 34, of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamines and possession of cocaine as a habitual offender and was sentenced to five months in jail with credit for 71 days served and $1,616 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred May 14 when police searched a home on Hamilton Street in Dowagiac where meth, cocaine and meth pipes were located. Haskins also faces charges in Berrien County for malicious destruction of police property.

“You have used alcohol, marijuana and drugs,” Fitz told Haskins. “It’s pretty simple, you need to get off drugs and find a program to keep you from using drugs. If you aren’t serious, we will be seeing you back here again.”

 

Judge Herman said he has no objection to Haskins spending the remainder of his jail term in a drug treatment program. Haskins has three prior felony convictions.

Also Friday:

  • Michael Dewane Brewer, 46, of U.S. 12 in Edwardsburg, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamines and was sentenced to three years probation, credit for 124 days in jail already served and $3,188 in fines and costs. He can get the conviction off his record if he’s successful on probation.

The incident occurred Nov. 28, 2019, when police stopped him in Edwardsburg and found meth residue and pipes. Brewer said he began using meth daily four years ago.

“Retirement is going to come up on you much quicker than you think,” Judge Herman said. “Not having stable employment leads you to be involved with people involved with drugs. In the end you have to make the decision for yourself. You’ve spent 124 days in jail. If you continue you will end up going to jail all over again.

  • Adam Cashen, 32, pleaded guilty to receiving, concealing or possession of a stolen motor vehicle and lying to police and was sentenced to one year in jail with credit for 179 days already served. He must pay $2,116 in fines and costs and $1,000 in restitution.

His jail term can be served in any correctional facility, and Cashen is currently in prison on September 2015 convictions for home invasion, larceny in a building and unlawful driving away of an automobile.

The incident occurred Aug. 25, 2019, in Mason Township when Michigan and Indiana police disabled the stolen vehicle he was driving. He has four prior felony and three prior misdemeanor convictions.

“There’s not much else to say,” Judge Herman said. “What you see is where no education and a daily meth addiction has gotten you. I hope you address your addiction.”

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