Trial in CSC case postponed.

May 3, 2021

Mallard appears in 27th Circuit Court from the Oceana County Jail via Zoom video conferencing.

Trial in CSC case postponed.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — The trial in the criminal sexual conduct (CSC) case against a 23-year-old Muskegon man has been delayed due to COVID-19.

Robert Iree Mallard is one of four Muskegon men facing CSC charges in connection to a child trafficking investigation conducted by a multi-jurisdictional task force including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) last summer.

Mallard, who faces one count of first-degree CSC, appeared for a pretrial hearing in 27th Circuit Court via Zoom video conferencing due to COVID-19 precautions from the Oceana County Jail Monday, May 3. He appeared with his attorney, James Marek, before Judge Robert D. Springstead.

Mallard’s case was scheduled to go to trial next week, but it was adjourned to June 23-25. Due to the number of COVID-19 cases in Oceana County, the court is in Phase I restrictions, which do not allow trials, said Judge Springstead.

Also charged in the case is Dwight Bernard McKinney, 17, who faces three counts of first-degree CSC. Jermaine Lamar Chapman, 24, faces a first-degree CSC charge and two charges of second-degree CSC in Muskegon County in the connection to the case. He is lodged in the Muskegon County Jail on a $1.5 million total cash/surety bond, according to jail records. Quonteravious Moffett, 19, of Muskegon faces one count of third-degree CSC and is lodged in the Muskegon County Jail.

The massive investigation began July 23 at 6:30 a.m. when an Oceana County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to a Grant Township residence, Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast previously said.

The girl’s father saw what appeared to be a man’s legs in his daughter’s bed. The male ran from the residence, and the dad called police. That incident prompted an investigation that the girl was sexually assaulted by several men. Evidence was uncovered indicating that the men would sneak out through the bedroom window and give the girl alcohol and drugs while sexually assaulting her. Evidence also indicated that the girl would sneak out of the house through her bedroom window and leave with the men. The girl was allegedly threatened if she told anyone, police said, because there were videos she wouldn’t want anyone to see.

“The investigation overturned substantial amounts of evidence implicating the suspects,” said Sheriff Mast previously. “The investigation snowballed.”

A task force involving both sheriff’s offices from Oceana and Muskegon counties, the Michigan State Police and the FBI are involved.

Mallard remains lodged in the Oceana County Jail on a $75,000/cash/surety/10 percent bond, Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said. McKinney was released from jail after posting a $75,000/cash/surety bond.

First-degree CSC is punishable by up to life in prison.

The male who fled the home when startled by the father was a 16-year-old who was not accused of any crimes.

The girl met one of the suspects through social media.

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