Woman who failed to register as sex offender sent to prison

Michele McGinnis stands Friday during her sentencing in 35th Circuit Court in Corunna for failure to register as a sex offender sentencing.

CORUNNA — A Corunna woman was sentenced to prison Friday morning by 35th Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart for failing to register as a sex offender for the fourth time.

Michele McGinnis, 35, was sentenced to one year, nine months to six years in prison and ordered to pay court costs and fines. She was credited with 149 days served. She must undergo a mental health evaluation while serving her sentence.

Assistant prosecutor Adam Masserang asked Stewart to impose a prison term because of her numerous prior failures to comply with the Sex Offender Registration Act (SARA).

“In 2006, she received her CSC conviction and has been on the registry since then,” Masserang said. “In 2011, she got her first registry violation. In 2014, she had another violation, and in 2015, another violation. Now here we are again, with a fourth registry violation. I think the claims that she didn’t know what to do, or couldn’t are specious at this point.”

Defense attorney Jacob Raleigh said his client had admitted responsibility.

“She was homeless and had no income,” Raleigh said. “She was feeling a kind of hopelessness in her life, and I think being arrested and being brought to court here has been an ultimately good thing for her.”

“I know I messed up and I wish I wouldn’t have,” McGinnis said. “When I get out, I’m going to do what I need to do.”

McGinnis’ original case from 2006 involved two counts of third degree CSC (person 13 to 15). She pleaded guilty to one count of attempted third degree CSC and received six months in jail and three years of probation. She served 155 days.

In the current case, McGinnis was charged with two felonies related to failing to register in April 2019, but was not arrested until Aug. 23, 2019.

She was arraigned in 66th District Court the same day before Judge Ward Clarkson; she pleaded not guilty. Court records do not indicate the amount bond was set at, but McGinnis has been lodged at the jail since her arrest.

McGinnis agreed to plead guilty Nov. 12, 2019, to one reduced count of failure to register as a sex offender (habitual offender-second offense), and a failure to notify police of a new address was dismissed.

Before sentencing, Stewart said McGinnis’ prior charges were “troubling,” and the court had a duty to impose a prison term.

“You repeatedly violated the registry act, and that’s troubling to the court because that indicates you’re not deterred by the threat of criminal sanctions,” Stewart said. “It appears to the court you have no interest in obeying the rules of registration. Every one of your prior convictions for failing to register, you received a jail term. There’s a wide range of charges that could have been brought against you. The legislature wants society to be able to keep an eye on you, to protect our children. The court will make that job a little easier after today’s sentence.”

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