Hart man avoids prison with ‘no contest’ plea to 4th-degree CSC.

November 30, 2021

Hart man avoids prison with ‘no contest’ plea to 4th-degree CSC.

HART — A 24-year-old Hart man pleaded “no contest” to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Nov. 29.

Aaron Michael McGhan, of 1050 N. 144th St, initially faced more serious charges of first-degree CSC and two counts of second-degree CSC, which were dismissed in exchange for his plea.

Fourth-degree CSC is a high-court misdemeanor punishable by up to two years. First-degree CSC is a felony with a maximum penalty of up to life in prison and a 25-year mandatory minimum. Second-degree CSC is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

McGhan, who is free on bond, appeared in court with his attorney Terry Nolan.

The case is being prosecuted by Newaygo County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Scott Walburn because Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon recused himself due to a conflict of interest.

“I know the families, and someone in my office at the time was very close to them as well,” said Bizon. “It was best to recuse our office. Newaygo was assigned.”

Walburn said there are two victims. “I spoke with the family several times, and they support the plea,” he said.

Sentencing guidelines in the case are 0-9 months, and Walburn said he will recommend a sentence within the guidelines.

McGhan admitted that the crime of “engaging in sexual contact using force or coersion” occurred within a time frame of July of 2015 to July of 2016 when he was 18 years old. 

Nolan said the reason for the “no contest” plea was to avoid civil liability. 

Sentencing is set for Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m.

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