Niles teen gets probation for sexually assaulting minor

Published 5:00 am Saturday, September 9, 2023

NILES — It was an emotional morning Friday as a Niles teen was sentenced on criminal sexual conduct related charges in Berrien County Trial Court.

Enoch Alexander Loucks, 19, of Niles, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit second degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to five years probation, credit for 59 days served, 25 years on the sex offender registry and $658 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred in April in Niles Township when Loucks had sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl.

Family and friends of both Loucks and the young victim were on hand for the sentencing although no one spoke before the sentence was handed down by Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith.

Loucks apologized for his actions in a statement read by his attorney prior to the sentencing. He told the victim he was sorry for the position he had put her in.

“It was not my intention to hurt you but I did,” he said. “I hope someday you can forgive me.”

Judge Smith called it a “very emotional” case. She disagreed with the “Romeo and Juliet” description of the case made by Loucks’ attorney, saying that such a characterization doesn’t accurately reflect the power dynamics of such situations and minimizes the harm caused to the victim.

“The law says there has to be a line drawn somewhere (in terms of the age of the victim) and that’s even more important when one person is 18 or 19 and the other is 14 or 15,” she said. “There’s a huge power dynamic but there’s also a maturity and experience gap.”

“You say it was two people who acted on their feelings,” she told Loucks. “But this is so much more than that … I’m not saying that what either of you said is 100 percent accurate but when you read how she felt, it’s clear to me that you took advantage of her.”

Judge Smith told Loucks to recognize the victim’s feelings and view of the situation where she felt she didn’t have any power or control.

“Take a look at yourself about why this happened when you didn’t recognize how she was saying no,” she said. “I believe her version of the events are much more accurate.”