Prosecutor Issues Statement Regarding Local Trial

PRESS RELEASE

Rhonda Deuman, 57, of Sault Ste Marie was found guilty by a jury in the 91st District Court on April 23, 2024. The Defendant was found guilty of assault and battery on a 9-year-old child.

The case was investigated by Officer Raymond Brooks of the Sault Ste Marie Police Department and presented to the jury by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Cassandra L. Ivonen. The jury heard from a young African American/Native American child and her mother, both of whom explained that in their culture, hair is not cut for a variety of reasons. For many, hair symbolizes significant historical and cultural value, and those important values were highlighted in this case. The Defendant did not respect the young woman’s culture or her choice to keep her hair long. Instead, the Defendant, without consent, cut the child’s hair. This assault and battery were, in essence, the young woman’s first haircut, which had been stolen from both her and her cultural tradition. This violation left the child and her mother teary-eyed on the stand when they discussed the significant impact these actions had on their lives.

Ultimately, the case was turned over to 6 jurors who found that the Defendant was guilty of Assault and Battery beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office and Sault Ste Marie Police Department want to recognize the strength and courage of the child who testified in front of the jury. We also want to thank each member of the jury who sat through this trial. Our system of justice could not function without the dedication and sacrifice of members of Chippewa County who step forward and do their civic duty – listening to testimony, reviewing the evidence, and rendering a verdict for justice. The jury found Rhonda Deuman guilty of assault and battery for cutting the child’s hair against her will, demonstrating that while this child will never be made whole for what she endured, justice was served and respect for her tradition and culture prevailed.

EUP News Staff

2 Comments

  1. How is this considered a sex crime?

  2. Hi googled every story I could find on this and not one of them says why she thought she needed to cut her hair. Not one reporter thought that was a pertinent question?

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