Local Man Sentenced up to 60 years on Five Felony Sex Crimes

James Allen Morris, age 55, was sentenced this morning June 18 th , 2024 by the Honorable James
P. Lambros of the 50 th Circuit Court. Morris was sentenced to 37 years to 60 years in the
Michigan Department of Corrections, for his convictions of five felony counts including
Criminal Sexual Assault in the 1st Degree, three separate counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct in
the 2nd Degree, and one additional count of Assault with intent to Commit Sexual Penetration.
Mr. Morris was convicted after a three-day jury trial that began on April 15, 2024. During the
trial, jurors heard from many witnesses, including the victim who shared that when she was 5
years old, she would go over to Morris’s home to play with other children. She testified that over
the course of the summer of 2012, the defendant began sexually molesting her; showing her
pornography and having her re-enact the depictions in the videos with not only himself but other
children in the home.

The Prosecutors office would like to acknowledge how traumatizing not only going through the
assault was for this survivor, but also having to relive it in detail by explaining what happened to
a group of strangers. The victim in this case showed tremendous strength and should be
celebrated for her bravery to come forward all these years later to tell her truth. The Prosecutor’s
office would also like to thank Detective/Sergeant Jeffrey Erickson for his thorough investigation
that ultimately helped make the victim’s voice that much stronger at trial.

This case was presented to the Jury by Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kristin M. Giommi with the
assistance of one of our new Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Cassandra L. Ivonen. At
sentencing, Ms. Giommi advised the Court that Mr. Morris’ crimes were particularly heinous
because he prayed on vulnerable preschool aged children and after Mr. Morris stole the victim’s
childhood innocence, he moved down to Georgia was able to carry on his life for years until he
was extradited back to Michigan in 2022 to face these crimes. Further, Judge Lambros was told
that Mr. Morris has nine prior felony convictions and no less than 8 prior misdemeanors on his
record. All of this was taken into consideration by the judge at the time he rendered the 37 year
sentence which was the maximum sentence allowed under the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.
“Cases of delayed reporting are so common in sexual assault prosecutions, and I hope this guilty
verdict and conviction shows the people of Chippewa County that our law enforcement partners
and my office will continue to seek justice on their behalf.” said Prosecutor Robert Stratton.
“While the statute of limitations bars some delayed reporting cases, most instances of sexual
assault can be prosecuted 10 years to a lifetime later depending on the circumstances, so please
don’t be scared to come forward like our survivor did in this case.”

Sheriff Michael Bitnar concurred: “I want our citizens to know, if you are a victim of a crime in
this community, we are here for you. We will investigate sexual assaults to the fullest extent.
And to those who perpetrate sex crimes against children and citizens in our community, know
that we will hunt you down wherever you are, and bring you back to Chippewa County to face
justice. “

Both the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office want to remind the
public that if a person is ever sexually assaulted, they can go to the hospital for a rape kit to be
completed. The hospital will hold that kit for up to a year to give the victim time to decide if they
want law enforcement to investigate their attacker. Having a rape kit completed only preserves
the evidence and ensures the best chance of conviction if the victim decides to go forward with

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