Cassopolis man sentenced for 2018 misconduct

CASSOPOLIS — Several area residents were sentenced Friday in Cass County Circuit Court on drug, resisting arrest and criminal sexual conduct charges.

Gage Allen-Zachery Curtis, 22, of Oak Grove Road in Cassopolis, pleaded guilty to attempted fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to two years’ probation, 90 days in jail with credit for eight days served and $1,765 in fines and costs. He must also register as a sex offender.

The incident occurred in August 2018 during the 2018 Cass County Fair when Curtis had sexual relations with an underage girl in a camper at the fair. A complaint was filed with Cassopolis police a month later in September 2018.

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman noted that while both Curtis and the victim said that the sex was consensual, the victim could not give consent due to her age.

Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Hubbert said the case is an example of the terrible impact criminal sexual conduct can have on people. He noted that Curtis said he had been the victim of sexual contact when he was younger, and now the victim in this case has to deal with it.

“Unfortunately, history sometimes repeats itself. Now he’s engaged in it,” Hubbert said.

Hubbert said the victim is still engaging in therapy and counseling and that the incident has changed her outlook on life.

“I hope it’s something he can see,” he said. “This has been absolutely devastating and had a life altering impact on her.”

Defense attorney Greg Feldman said that it will take hard work, counseling and therapy for Curtis to break out of the cycle of abuse.

“You can’t necessarily punish your way out of it,” he said. “He regrets the actions perpetuated on the victim and doesn’t wish her harm.”

Curtis said he wakes up every day regretting his actions.

“I understand what I did and what I put her through,” he said. “I wake up every day regretting my actions. I’d just like to tell the court that I’m truly, truly sorry.”

Judge Herman said he was skeptical that Curtis claimed he didn’t know the girl was 13.

“As you were 19 and a half, it’s hard to believe that you thought a 13-year-old was over 16,” he said. “The victim said you were aware she was 13. You also denied even knowing who she was. If you didn’t know, there would be an issue. Why would you deny knowing her?”

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