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Advocate: Ingham prosecutor just the latest sexual predator to get a light sentence

Nov 22, 2016

As the Prosecuting Attorney for Ingham County, Stuart Dunnings III was the guy who sent people to prison. Today, the disgraced former prosecutor stood before a judge in Genesee County Circuit Court after pleading guilty to a felony charge of misconduct in office, and a misdemeanor charge of engaging the services of a prostitute.

Dunnings had been facing 15 prostitution-related charges that were spread over three counties. He was sentenced to three years probation, with the first year to be served in county jail.

Erin Roberts, the executive director of End Violent Encounters (EVE), joined Stateside to give her take on the sentencing. EVE is a Lansing-based non-profit that provides shelter and supportive services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.

"I think there are two takeaways from the sentencing," Roberts said. "One is that it the system has held a perpetrator accountable. It has assigned a sentence and held him accountable for the actions to which the court agreed he had been guilty of. The second takeaway is that sexual predators continue to receive shorter sentences than the gravity of their crimes." 

The most serious charge Dunnings faced was pandering, in which he was accused of using his position of power to coerce a woman into paid sex. That felony was punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but was dropped along with other charges, in exchange for pleading guilty to felony misconduct in office and a misdemeanor for engaging in the services of a prostitute. In the Lansing State Journal back in August, Attorney General Bill Schuette's office said they made that deal so that victims didn't have to testify. 

Listen to the full interview to hear Roberts talk about the message this sends to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and to women in general. 

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