Area man gets 25-60 years for sexually assaulting minor

Published 6:00 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — An area man already in prison for sexual assault was sentenced to another prison term Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.

Miguel Perez, 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to 25 years to 60 years in prison with credit for 510 days served. He must register as a sex offender, be on lifetime GPS monitoring and pay $1,048 in fines and costs. 

Perez is already in prison on another first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge from Van Buren County. He received a prison sentence of 25 years in prison on Dec. 20, 2021. 

The victim is under age and is the same in both cases. The Cass County case occurred in Dowagiac and came to the attention of authorities in June, 2021. The Van Buren County case occurred in the Hartford area. 

The victim’s mother spoke before the sentencing.

“I’ve seen my daughter suffer every day and I hope at some point she can heal and move on,” the woman said. “My daughter is in constant fear now. She doesn’t sleep at night, she doesn’t go out with her friends. She’s in constant fear of someone watching her.” 

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz called Perez’s action “abominable” and “despicable” and noted that Perez had given marijuana to the victim to make her more compliant.

“He’s a coward, he’s earned what he’s getting today and what he got in the other case,” he said. “I hope he does change his ways and he will have a quarter of century to do it.” 

“You destroyed her life for a few moments of selfish pleasure,” Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman said. “You may someday get out of prison and hopefully without you in her life, she can get out of her prison.”