Court adjourns case against young Pittsfield Township sex offender until February
An attorney for a young man accused of living near a school after being convicted of having sex with an underage high school girlfriend plans to review video of his client’s 2003 guilty plea.
That's the latest step as the attorney investigatesÂ a school safety zone residency violation levied againstÂ Matthew Freeman, 23, of Pittsfield Township.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Freeman is accused of illegally living within 1,000 feet of Carpenter Elementary School in Pittsfield Township in violation of Michigan Sex Offender Registry rules. He faces up to a year in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor charge.
Freeman's attorney, David Goldstein, made a request today to adjourn the case until Feb. 12. The request was approved by 14A District Court Judge J. Cedric Simpson.
It will give Goldstein time to review video of the 2003 hearing during which Freeman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with force or coercion.
By pleading guilty, Freeman admitted to having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend when he was 17. In Michigan, the legal age of consent is 16.
Why Goldstein is interested in the video is unclear. Goldstein said today the matter is "under further investigation," but did not elaborate.
Freeman entered the 2003 plea in front of 22nd Circuit Judge Donald Shelton in exchange for dismissal of a felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. As a result of Freeman’s plea, he has to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
The police report says the victim was “not forced to commit any act” nor did she ask Freeman “not to commit any act.”
Asked by a reporter whether Freeman's fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with "force or coercion" conviction is consistent with the facts in the police report, Washtenaw County Chief Deputy Assistant Prosecutor Steve Hiller offered an explanation.
Hiller said under Michigan law, a defendant can admit to facts of a more serious offense during a plea to a lesser offense. He said the facts of the higher offense may not necessarily coincide with the lesser charge.
Freeman was originally charged after his former girlfriend's mother, Evelyn Scott, filed a complaint with Pittsfield Township police, seeking to end Freeman’s relationship with her daughter. She filed the report 12 days after Freeman's 17th birthday. She has since written a letter on Freeman's behalf and wants him removed from the registry.