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Probation violation for child sex assault to lead to new sentence

News File Photo The Alpena County courthouse appears in this August 2021 News archive photo.

ALPENA — A downstate man who served less than two months in jail for allegedly touching an 8-year-old Alpena girl for sexual purposes in 2018 faces more jail time after he violated his parole, Judge Ed Black ruled in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court on Monday.

Robert Clark, 55, in 2021 pleaded no contest to touching the girl and was sentenced to five years of probation and 56 days in jail, with credit for 56 days served.

In a no-contest plea, a defendant agrees to not fight charges but doesn’t admit guilt. A no-contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea at sentencing.

A cashier at a downstate store where Clark now lives testified at a Monday parole violation hearing that Clark took a picture of her without her consent, made inappropriate comments about her during frequent visits to the store, and then threatened her when a manager tried to keep him out of the store.

Clark’s attorney argued that the woman’s accusation only came after she learned he was on the state’s sex offender registry.

The sexual banter with which Clark engaged with the 19-year-old cashier, while distasteful, was not illegal, the attorney said.

Black ruled that Clark violated his probation by not being fully truthful with his probation officer and intimidating store workers.

Clark will return to court for sentencing in the coming months.

Also in court on Monday:

*Johnathan Beatty, 38, admitted he sexually assaulted a child in 2017 and 2018.

Previously, two females testified that Beatty touched them sexually several years ago, when they were of gradeschool age.

As part of a plea agreement, Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski agreed to dismiss two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and a count of accosting a child for immoral purposes.

Beatty pleaded guilty to two added counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and a weapons charge – incured because, as a felon, he was not allowed to posses the firearm police found in his possession around the time of his arrest.

Muszynski agreed to dismiss Beatty’s habitual offender status — which could have increased his prison time — and to request a sentence of six-and-one-half years, at the bottom of the sentencing guidelines.

Beatty will return to court for sentencing in January.

***

∫ Michael Jackson, 39, pleaded guilty to stealing from the Alpena Walmart at the store’s self-checkout lanes by scanning incorrect barcodes.

Surveillance cameras caught Jackson and a woman removing barcode stickers and placing them on higher-priced items on several occasions between March and June, according to police. The pair stole merchandise with a total value of more than $1,600, police said.

The woman was not arrested at the time of Jackson’s arrest, police said.

Jackson will return to court for sentencing in January.

***

∫ Black said a rough start in life can’t be an excuse for bad decisions as an adult.

“You have to overcome that,” Black said, sentencing Kaitlyn Warren to three to 20 years in prison, with possibility of release to boot camp after 18 months, for attempted drug dealing.

Police in 2021 caught Warren in possession of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine, some secreted in a body cavity, Black said.

Between the drugs and four cell phones in her possession, Warren was “more than just using,” Black said.

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