Monday, February 14, 2011

Conviction stands
Court affirms youth pastor's conviction in groping case
By Lisa Roose-Church • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • February 14, 2011

A youth pastor from Fenton who said the Michigan Court of Appeals would "work out" what he considered a wrongful conviction for sexually assaulting a then-10-year-old boy has learned instead his conviction will stand.

A jury convicted Randy William Strong in August 2009 of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was subsequently ordered to serve one year in the Livingston County Jail for molesting the victim, who is now an adult, and to spend five years on probation.
Strong's attorney argued the victim's uncertainty about when the alleged offenses occurred "casts a cloud of doubt over the assertion that this act ever occurred."
The attorney also argued the testimony of the victim's sister should be inadmissible because she had been in the courtroom during prior testimony, which is not permitted under certain circumstances.
However, the appeals court disagreed on both counts and affirmed Strong's conviction, according to a decision released Friday.
The victim testified at Strong's trial that he told a counselor and his parents about the abuse, which began with massages and escalated to touching.
Strong, who was a part-time youth pastor in Durand when the incidents occurred while he was staying with the Livingston County family, testified that the incidents did not occur.
At his sentencing hearing, Strong said: "Am I guilty of this sin? I am not. I will let God and the (Michigan) Court of Appeals work that out."
The Daily Press & Argus is not identifying the victim because he is a victim of sexual assault.

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