NEWS RELEASE 6/9/16
Bradley Douglas Kussrow, 20, of Petoskey was sentenced to six months in jail following his guilty plea to attempted unlawful imprisonment by Judge Janet Allen in the Otsego County Circuit Court in Gaylord today.
Kussrow was originally charged with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct, Third Degree and one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct, Fourth Degree, but accepted a plea agreement and entered a guilty plea to the reduced charge on May 5.
Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof was appointed special prosecutor on the matter by the Attorney General’s Office due to a conflict of interest.
The charges arose from a December 14, 2015 party in Otsego Lake Township attended by eight teenagers, including the victim and defendant.
Kussrow admitted under oath that he had found the victim (who he admitted was highly intoxicated) lying in a bedroom in the home, that he closed and locked the door and that he kissed her, groped her and digitally penetrated her. He told police that he believed that since the victim was not saying “no” that she was “okay” with what he was doing.
Telgenhof said that the plea agreement was entered into because it spared the victim from having to testify at preliminary examination and trial, because it provides a guaranteed conviction and consequence for the defendant, because it had the support of the victim and family and because unlike a criminal sexual conduct conviction, it will not subject the defendant to lifetime registration and a felony conviction that can never come off his record.
“There are no winners in this case,” Telgenhof said. “This young woman is affected forever by what happened to her that night – at the hands of someone she had known for years and trusted. Hopefully this young man understands the pain that he has caused after hearing from her father who read her statement in court today.”
The defense had requested that Kussrow serve no jail time and that he receive Holmes Youthful Trainee status which would have allowed the conviction to automatically come off his record a few years down the road. At the prosecution’s urging, Judge Allen denied both requests.
In sentencing the Defendant, Judge Allen stated, “You found a woman who had been falling down drunk laying in a bed, closed the door, locked it, took your pants down, took her pants down and started doing sexual things to her, that’s not how it is supposed to work. That was your fatal mistake. How did you figure that was okay?…You can’t grope…women until they say no…that’s not how this works.”
“I was very happy with what the judge had to say,” Telgenhof said. “Those words are powerful. She also said that we need to send a message that this behavior has to be deterred. Hopefully we continue to get that word out there. The Stanford rape case has shone a spotlight on this and we need to keep talking about it,” Telgenhof continued. “A woman should be free to have a drink with her friends without the fear of being assaulted or being accused of ‘wanting it.’ Consent isn’t a difficult thing to see. We will keep going to the schools and talking about it, hosting events like The Hunting Ground showing we had in Charlevoix. Things need to change; Judge Allen is exactly right.”
Kussrow also received three years of probation including counseling and treatment as recommended and is to refrain from the use of alcohol and controlled substances while on probation.