CORUNNA — A Durand man was sentenced to prison Friday by 35th Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart for inappropriately touching a sleeping eight-year-old who was staying the night with his child in April 2019.
Daniel Diaz, 55, was sentenced to two years, four months to five years with the Michigan Department of Corrections on two counts of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct (second degree). Stewart ordered Diaz to pay court costs and fines, and credited Diaz with 66 days served toward his sentence. Diaz will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release, and must undergo counseling while serving his sentence.
“The children of Shiawassee County are off-limits to those who would harm them,” Stewart said. “They are protected by the justice system, and the consequences for abusers will be fair but severe.”
The Argus-Press does not typically identify victims of sexual abuse.
Before announcing Diaz’s sentence, Stewart took issue with Diaz claiming he did not intend to touch the victim for sexual gratification.
“You pleaded guilty,” Stewart said. “And you’re telling me today that you’re not guilty. You’re saying you didn’t intend it. That’s a big element of the crime. Are you guilty, or aren’t you?”
“This is something that will never happen again,” Diaz said. “I know that for sure. I am very upset at myself, and I’ll be characterized as a pedophile or something of that nature. I feel that I am surely not. It was never intended to be that way.”
Diaz was charged June 18, 2019, and a warrant for his arrest was issued the following day. According to court records, he was arraigned June 21, 2019, by 66th District Court Judge Ward Clarkson; not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf. Court records indicate Diaz posted a $10,000 cash/surety bond June 24, 2019, and was free until a Dec. 5, 2019, plea hearing.
He pleaded guilty to the two CSC counts at that hearing, and Stewart revoked his bond. Diaz has been lodged at the Shiawassee County Jail since that time.
Defense attorney Curtis Zaleski asked the court to impose a term of incarceration of less than a year, and noted seven people had written character letters on Diaz’s behalf.
Prosecutor Deana Finnegan disagreed, and noted the victim was only eight years old, and asked Stewart to impose a prison term.
“Children are the most vulnerable members of our society,” Finnegan said. “An eight-year-old child was touched inappropriately by somebody she probably trusted like her own grandfather. She carries this with her the rest of her life. I think the message that has to be sent in a civilized society is that we do not tolerate people inappropriately touching young children. This is a little girl that was sleeping in a home she felt comfortable in, and this man took advantage of that… It cannot be tolerated.”