Jesse E. Cleary – Pedophile BabySitter – Convicted

A Bay City man will spend between 23 and 50 years in prison for the physical and sexual abuse of a young girl who was under his care while her mother was at work.

Jesse E. Cleary, who lived at 910 N. Grant St., pleaded guilty Friday to one count of first degree criminal sexual contact and two counts of second degree CSC. Cleary received sentences of eight to 15 years each for the two counts of second degree CSC. Sentences are to run concurrently and Cleary will get credit for 256 days already served.

In exchange for his plea, five counts of criminal sexual conduct against the girl’s two younger brothers were dropped, though the abuse against the boys was considered for purposes of sentencing, said J. Dee Brooks, Bay County assistant prosecutor.

The abuse took place between 2004 and 2007. The oldest child, then 10, told her mother of the abuse in September 2007. Cleary forced her to perform oral sex on him at least 15 times, starting when she was 8 years old. He would also put all the children in his bed and order them to rub him sexually, beating and choking them when they didn’t perform as he instructed.

The two younger children were 4 and 8 at the time. All three told investigators that Cleary had threatened to kill their mother if they told anyone about the activities, and showed them a gun while making the threat.

“This was a very horrendous child sexual abuse case,” said Bay County Prosecutor Kurt C. Asbury, “In fact, I think it’s one of the worse I’ve ever seen in my 22-plus years as a prosecutor.

Both Cleary, 35, and his attorney, Edward M. Czuprynski, on Friday asked Bay County Circuit Judge William J. Caprathe to take consideration of Cleary’s cooperation with law enforcement officials when sentencing him.

“I realize that my client has been convicted of some serious (offenses) and has been projected in a negative light this morning,” Czuprynski told the court. When the abuse came to light, Czuprynski said, Cleary was cooperative, has been remorseful and contrite, and did not want to put the child through a trial.

“Once in the system his chief concern … was about minimizing, to the extent that he could, the trauma to the little girl,” Czuprynski said, adding that Cleary “scratches his head to this day, wondering why it ever happened.”

Cleary addressed the court, saying he has been compliant and wanted no more emotional trauma for the children involved.

“I’m very sorry for what has happened,” Cleary said. “I was drinking and using drugs excessively at the time.”

Asbury said that’s not an excuse.

“It’s my position there can never be acceptable excuses to abuse a child and these cases will continue to be a top priority in my office,” Asbury said.

Cleary talked about his own two children who are suffering because he’s not in their life.

But Caprathe wasn’t moved to go outside of sentencing guidelines.

“I really don’t hear the defendant’s admission to the responsibility,” Caprathe said.

Cleary had said he wanted to go to trial but accepted the plea to spare the children.

“Which leads the court to believe that he doesn’t feel he’s really responsible,” Caprathe said. “I’m hearing mixed messages.”

Perhaps a more convincing argument came from the victims themselves, who told a tale of being punched and kicked, having their heads thrust into a toilet full of urine and having food withdrawn when they didn’t do what Cleary wanted – a punishment that was particularly serious for one of the boys, a diabetic.

They told of being shown pornographic movies and then being forced to act out things that were done in the movies with each other and with Cleary.

“I’m here today to tell you what a bad person Jesse is,” the older boy had written. He and his younger brother stood at the podium, less than 10 feet from where Cleary sat, while his words were read aloud by Stephanie Cornejo, sexual assault case manager for the Bay Area Women’s Center.

“Every single day I had to deal with him punching me and hitting me,” Cornejo read. “I have a hard time being around my sister because I feel weird … I hate Jesse more than anything in the world.”

The girl tried to read her statement but had to stop because she was crying. She said she was 6 when the abuse started.

“Do you know what it’s like to look at my brother every day?” Cornejo read for her. “I think Jesse is a pedophile and a psycho and he should be put in prison for the rest of his life.”

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