First of Niles teens sentenced for sextortion
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 11:09 PM EST | Updated: Nov 6, 2014 2:04 PM EST
NILES, Mich. - Martise Washington, one of the five teens accused of blackmailing a Niles girl into sex, learned his punishment Monday.
Washington faces 20 years in prison before he can be considered for parole and lifetime of being monitored by GPS. A jury found Washinton guilty of seven criminal charges including criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree and extortion.
David Reid, a teen mentor in Niles, said he thinks the sentence is too high for a first time offender. "I think he should be punished to some extent, but 20 years,” he said. “That's way too much for the young man."
Reid said he has heard of other teens involved with sexting and other internet crimes who never get punished.
Bryant Bacon a pastor at Mount Cavalry Baptist Church runs a large youth group in Niles. "We live in a sexually saturated world,” he said.
Whether or not the punishment fits the crime, Bacon doesn’t know. He said sex is everywhere and it affects teenagers more than anyone. "Kids now are more exposed to it. This is the mindset they develop,” he said. “That they don't have to be married. They don't have to respect women."
Bacon said neither Washington nor the other four teens accused go to his church but in light of this scandal his church has been talking about sex and this crime. He says teens need to learn from this."Anything you don't address will get out of control," he said.
Reid said High School aged kids in Niles will learn a lesson. "It could have been them,” he said “But to give that kid 20 years, that's just way too much."
Three of the other teens pled guilty to charges. The trial for a fourth teen, Martell Miller, begins Tuesday.
*a correction was made to the story that aired on 12/12/2011 at 6 p.m.
See the raw interview with Pastor Bryant Bacon about how the Mount Cavalry Baptist Church deals with sex and teens: