Niles man sentenced for criminal sexual conduct

Published 4:43 pm Monday, October 5, 2020

NILES — A Niles man is heading to prison following a sexual battery case in Berrien County.

Justin D. Canniff, 40, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree child abuse and was sentenced to 54 months to 15 years in prison Monday by Berrien County Trial Court Judge Sterling R. Schrock.

Canniff received credit for 69 days served in Berrien County Jail and must register as a Tier 2 sex offender. He must also pay $258 in fees and costs.

In Michigan, second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony offense involving unwanted sexual touching, in many instances of a minor, a person with a mental or physical disability or someone over whom the perpetrator holds power and uses it to coerce sexual activity.

“These kinds of circumstances are difficult at best to address in words,” Schrock said. “But it is extraordinarily significant behavior that justifies a very significant sentence.”

In a different sentencing, a 19-year old Buchanan teenager pled guilty to breaking and entering with intent to commit a felony or larceny. They were sentenced to two years of probation and 46 days in jail with credit for 46 days served. The incident occurred in July at Pit Stop, 207 S. Oak St., Buchanan. The teen was ordered to pay $6,022.98 in restitution to Pit Stop and $576 in costs and fees.

With the guilty plea, the teen was granted Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act status. HYTA gives a young offender, ages 17 to 23, a chance to keep a criminal offense, including felonies, off his or her record.

In another sentencing, Torie Lee Patrick Kullberg, 28, of South Bend pleaded guilty to the attempted carrying of concealed weapon in an automobile and resisting and obstructing a police officer, and pleaded no contest to carrying a concealed weapon in an auto and stolen property.

Kullberg was sentenced to 120 days in jail with credit for 87 days served for the attempted carrying of a concealed weapon and was sentenced to 14 months to five years for carrying a concealed weapon, and 14 months to five years for stolen property. He was sentenced to 14 months to two years in prison for resisting and obstructing a police officer and was ordered to pay $198 in fees.