Sex Offender Sentenced

By: Lori Jane Gliha
By: Lori Jane Gliha

Tears welling in her eyes, Mary Smith stood in front of a courtroom and begged the judge to give Nelson Graves the maximum 15-year sentence for sexually abusing her son.

"Fifteen years is not enough," she said. "We have life sentences."

Graves, a former Red Cross worker and employee at Catholic Social Services, never looked at Smith while she stood in front of the judge, reading a letter her son had written to Graves.

"I hate you for what you've done to me," she read. "I hope you pay...I hope your friends don't like you anymore."

Graves did apologize for his actions when the judge gave him an opportunity to speak, before he was sentenced to a minimum of 40 months behind bars with a maximum possible penalty of 180 months in prison.

"I'm very sorry for the heartache that I caused the victim's family and friends," he said. "I apologize for my behavior."

Graves will undergo therapy and must enter his name in the state's sex offender registry. He was previously convicted for sexual abuse in 1984 and spent a few years on probation as a result.

Meanwhile, Lansing detectives say they've been researching several more cases of sexual misconduct involving Graves, and they plan to bring more charges against him before the end of next month.


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