Nicholas J. Thelen, 22, of Charlevoix, was sentenced to 57 to 180 months in prison this morning by Judge Roy C. Hayes III in the 33rd Circuit Court. Thelen pleaded guilty to Criminal Sexual Conduct, Second Degree on March 21, 2018.
Thelen admitted sexually assaulting a seven-year-old victim while she was attending a birthday party. While still at the party, the victim reported the assault to an adult. The case was then investigated by the Michigan State Police.
The plea agreement involved a reduction from the original charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct, First Degree. Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Caitlin Borchard, who prosecuted the case, told the court at sentencing that the plea offer was made out of concern for the victim and not putting her through any greater stress or anxiety.
Borchard stated that the child considered Thelen a “friend” and that he preyed upon her by removing other children from the room, closing the blinds and door before he assaulted her. She also indicated that Thelen had been observing child sexually abusive material for years prior to the assault.
In sentencing the defendant, Hayes noted that sexual assaults upon children are “evil acts” and “regularly cause lifelong damage to the victims.” Hayes sentenced Thelen to the maximum under the sentencing guidelines for the case.