McInnis sentenced to 50 years behind bars

Sean Mcinnis, age 49, was sentenced on May 16, 2023 to 50 years in the Michigan Department
of Corrections after being convicted by a jury of several counts of child abuse, sexual assault,
and assault with a dangerous weapon. He will be eligible to go before the parole board after
serving 23 years. Judge Lambros handed down the maximum sentence permitted by law under
the Michigan guidelines after presiding over the trial and hearing the victim’s statements at
sentencing. He told the defendant that it is the most disturbing and terrible testimony he has ever
heard, and he did not understand how a father could be capable of such acts. This is the second
time the defendant has been convicted of child abuse. Hopefully, it will be the last.

It took years for the survivors to build up the courage to come forward to speak about the
atrocities that had occurred over the years, and they would not have been able to do so without
the direct help of the Diane Peppler Resource Center, Michigan Child Protective Service
workers, The Hiawatha Behavioral Health Child Service Supervisor, and the Chippewa County
Sheriff’s Office. The organizations worked together to provide a safety net that permitted the
victims to finally break free from the defendant, receive the mental health services necessary and
ultimately tell a jury what had happened to them over the years. They each had to testify in front
of the man who abused them, and they found the courage to do so.

Detective Doug Mitchell conducted an extensive investigation that included many forensic
interviews, executing search warrants, and working with forensic anthropologists to uncover the
remains of a miscarried baby in the backyard of the defendant’s home. The jury decided that
there was not sufficient evidence to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the miscarriage of that
baby was caused by the defendant. However, the discovery of the baby corroborated the
statements of the mother and children.

The role of a jury is to sort through all of the evidence presented at trial and to determine what
has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and what has not. The Chippewa Prosecutor’s
Office respects the jury’s finding that the charge of assault causing miscarriage was not proven
by the highest legal standard in the country. After deliberations, they did find that 3 counts of 1 st
Degree Child Abuse, 1 st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, and 2 counts of Assault with a
Dangerous Weapon were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. They are completely reliant on their
caregivers for not only food and shelter, but also protection.” Prosecutor Stratton stated. He
continued, “bruises fade in days to weeks, but the emotional scars from being abused by the
person you are supposed to rely on, the person who is supposed to protect you with their own
life, those scars never heal. I am thankful to the amazing therapist who has been dedicated
throughout the entirety of this case helping the family to move forward and understand that the
actions of an evil man are in no way their fault. I am also very proud of my assistant prosecuting
attorneys Jillian Sadler and Kristin Giommi for their work on this case. It was a lot of long
evenings in the office, but this is why we do this job.”

Sheriff Bitnar echoed the sentiments of Prosecutor Stratton stating, “While every criminal
investigation is important, those involving children are particularly so. I am very proud of the
diligence and compassion Detective Mitchell demonstrated in this case. He spent years working
alongside the family, service providers, and prosecution to ultimately hold a man responsible for
his terrible actions. It was a job well done.”

The defendant’s actions were truly terrible, but in the end, a community came together to hold a
man responsible.

EUP News Staff

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