Serial Child Molester Convicted
A Cass County jury wasted little time convicting 74-year old James McNeil of Dowagiac, Mi. for his repeated molestation of a young girl from 1992-1995. The sexual assaults began while she was in kindergarten. Evidence adduced at trial included the testimony of six adult females who advised that like the current victim, they had been lured to the defendant’s Dowagiac home as children while he “babysat” them. The defendant was earlier sentenced to 5-15 years prison in June of 1999 for the crime of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct for actions occurring in 1989. The press release from the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office states, “The 29-year old victim in this week’s case testified that the molestations began when she was five years old. Further, that the Defendant’s violations included repeated vaginal intercourse. She and the other predatory survivors explained from the stand how the defendant regularly had young children in his company and his home. Additionally, that he had been grooming and molesting grade school girls since 1977.” After less than five minutes deliberation, the 12-person jury convicted the defendant as charged of the three counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree brought against him. These counts each carry a penalty of up to life in prison. The victim and the past survivors hugged in the courtroom after hearing the jury’s verdict. The lead investigator who opened this decades old investigation was Detective Kristen Daley of the Cass County Sheriff’s Department. McNeil is scheduled for sentencing on February 28th.
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