Prosecutor Explains Controversial Plea

Published: Apr. 5, 2018 at 6:22 PM EDT
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The family of a young woman who accused three former MSU football players of rape, says prosecutors were far more concerned with the suspects' futures than hers. They sent a statement exclusively to News 10 after reading prosecutor Carol Siemon's explanation of the plea bargain the victim agreed to. News 10's Marcus Dash talked with Siemon about it today.

Wednesday Donnie Corley, Demetric Vance, and Josh King agreed to a plea deal in a sexual assault case.

CSC charges were dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to seduction charges.

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon agreed to let them be sentenced under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act which would erase their records if they finished their probationary period.

"We want to make available options so that they don't have a felony conviction tracking them their whole life," said Siemon.

Seduction is a statute from 1931, making it illegal to have sex with an unmarried woman. It's a felony, but not a sex crime.

"It is different, it is not sexual offender registry applicable, so for defendants that plead under this law they would not have to register," said Siemon.

Although Siemon agreed to make seduction part of the plea deal, she doesn't entirely agree with the law itself.

"It's an archaic law, it's a sexist law, it's not one that we recommend using often, but given all the circumstances it was what we could do to try and achieve justice in this case," said Siemon.

Siemon says it gets a guilty plea on the record and gives the judge the power to send the defendants to prison if they get in trouble again.

"We want to make sure that there is an incentive to basically behave we want consequences for bad acts and give the court the ability to have supervision and have an appropriate response," said Siemon.

Siemon tells Marcus Dash the victim's wishes, public's safety, and records of the defendants were all considered before making the deal.

The full statement from the victim's family:

"We reviewed the Ingham County Prosecutor's statement of April 4th with disappointment, but not surprise. From the beginning, we have felt that the Prosecutor's office was far more concerned with the future of 3 football players than with the sexual assault of the victim. It is one of the reasons that the victim consented to the plea bargain, in addition to her desire for privacy and to avoid being further vilified. We certainly hope that the next victim will be respected throughout the process in a way that we were not. For all the talk of change in attitude and culture of the Prosecutor's office, we have seen virtually no evidence of it in action."