(May 29, 2013) — The men accused of raping a young woman and assaulting a number of male college students following a party on Veto Northwest in Grand Rapids last summer were sentenced in Kent County Court.
The four co-defendants will spend a minimum of 43 to 62 years in prison.
The men had pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct, home invasion and armed robbery charges a number of months ago.
Before Dorian Jones, Rederick Melton, James Hodges and Brandon Towns were sentenced Wednesday, the woman who was raped explained the nightmare she had gone through to the judge and the men.
“This whole crime has been the hardest struggle I’ve ever been through. I’ve dreaded this whole process. Dreaded it for the fact I have to look in your faces and tell you not only what I’ve been through but also what you put my family and friends through,” said the victim.
As the men looked on with lowered heads and eyes, the young woman who was sexually assaulted in the case gave a tearful statement, explaining more about what the brutal assault had done to her in the following year.
“I’ve lost countless hours of sleep trying to avoid the nightmares of that night, replaying in my head over an over again. I dread it so much that I thought I couldn’t do it anymore that I couldn’t bear to get up out of bed in the morning. But, I did and I will keep doing it,” said the victim.
She told the men directly that she hoped they would change.
“I hope in your sentence you will reflect on your terrible decisions and actions of wrongdoing and in your sentence, you can become a better person,” she said.
In turn, the four men apologized to her and the others.
Rederick Melton acknowledged her thoughts in his apology.
“I would just like to apologize to the victim to my involvement in this event. As she said, I hope my sentence does make me a better person,” said Melton.
“What happened to her was never supposed to happen,” said Dorian Jones.
Melton and Jones will spend a minimum of 43 years behind bars.
James Hodges will serve a minimum of 50 years and Brandon Towns, a minimum of 62 years.
“What really sets this case apart is you crossed the line in the sexual assault,” said Judge George Buth.
Prosecutor Chris Becker said he’s pleased the four accepted responsibility, pleading guity.
He said it is sparing the victims from reliving the assaults by having to testify in court again.
“It was a difficult case and you could see how the victim is impacted, the scars she still has to carry,” said Prosecutor Chris Becker.