Published May 01. 2013 3:00PM Updated May 01. 2013 3:36PM
A New Jersey man who sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl he knew while living in East Lyme in 2008 was sentenced today in New London Superior Court to 27 months in prison.
Michael J. Michitsch, 32, who was living in Hillsborough, N.J., when he was arrested in June 2012 had pleaded guilty to risk of injury to a minor and fourth-degree sexual assault. He has been held in lieu of $200,000 bond at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center while his case pending.
At the sentencing, he faced up to three years in prison under a plea agreement worked out between the state and the defense. Prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman said the recommended sentence reflected the seriousness of the offense yet spared the victim from having to testify at a trial.
The victim did not attend the hearing but sent a letter to the court through her guardian ad litem, attorney Lori Hellum.
“My ward wants the court to know she is doing well,” Hellum said. “She has forgiven Mr. Michitsch. She appreciates that he has taken responsibility.”
The girl had told a friend about the sexual assaults in 2012, which led to an investigation by the Department of Children and Families and police.
Michitsch’s attorney, M. Fred DeCaprio, said Michitsch may have tried to minimize his involvement when first confronted by police, but that “at this point he doesn’t contest any of the allegations.”
DeCaprio, who had the right to argue for a reduced sentence under the plea agreement with the state, said Michitsch was physically and emotionally abused by his father, has cognitive issues and is immature for his age. DeCaprio said Michitsch at first did not understand the seriousness of the offense.
Michitsch, who had stood stiffly and quietly throughout the hearing, became emotional when Judge Susan B. Handy started her remarks and was allowed to sit down.
“(The victim) said in her letter that she forgives you,” the judge said. “I can tell you, Mr. Michitsch, she is more forgiving than I am.”
The crimes he committed were horrific, the judge said, and there is no way of knowing how they might affect the victim in the future.
The judge reduced the state’s recommended sentence by nine months, saying Michitsch was entitled to some consideration. She imposed 10 years of strict probation, prohibited him from having unsupervised contact with minors and ordered him to register as a sex offender.