CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – A Chippewa County man has been sentenced to prison after being found guilty of multiple felony charges earlier this year.
Sean McInnis, 49, was sentenced to 50 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections. McInnis was found guilty of six felony counts in a trial in January, including Criminal Sexual Assault in the 1st Degree, three separate counts of Child Abuse in the 1st Degree, and two counts of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.
McInnis was initially arrested and charged in 2019 following an investigation by the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office.
The following is an excerpt from a release from Chippewa County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Stratton regarding the sentencing:
It took years for the survivors to build up the courage to come forward to speak about the atrocities that had occurred over the years, and they would not have been able to do so without the direct help of the Diane Peppler Resource Center, Michigan Child Protective Service workers, The Hiawatha Behavioral Health Child Service Supervisor, and the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office. The organizations worked together to provide a safety net that permitted the victims to finally break free from the defendant, receive the mental health services necessary and ultimately tell a jury what had happened to them over the years. They each had to testify in front of the man who abused them, and they found the courage to do so.
Detective Doug Mitchell conducted an extensive investigation that included many forensic interviews, executing search warrants, and working with forensic anthropologists to uncover the remains of a miscarried baby in the backyard of the defendant’s home. The jury decided that there was not sufficient evidence to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the miscarriage of that baby was caused by the defendant. However, the discovery of the baby corroborated the statements of the mother and children.
The role of a jury is to sort through all of the evidence presented at trial and to determine what has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and what has not. The Chippewa Prosecutor’s Office respects the jury’s finding that the charge of assault causing miscarriage was not proven by the highest legal standard in the country. After deliberations, they did find that 3 counts of 1st Degree Child Abuse, 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, and 2 counts of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. They are completely reliant on their caregivers for not only food and shelter, but also protection.” Stratton said “bruises fade in days to weeks, but the emotional scars from being abused by the person you are supposed to rely on, the person who is supposed to protect you with their own life, those scars never heal. I am thankful to the amazing therapist who has been dedicated throughout the entirety of this case helping the family to move forward and understand that the actions of an evil man are in no way their fault. I am also very proud of my assistant prosecuting attorneys Jillian Sadler and Kristin Giommi for their work on this case. It was a lot of long evenings in the office, but this is why we do this job.”
“While every criminal investigation is important, those involving children are particularly so,” said Chippewa County Sheriff Michael Bitnar. “I am very proud of the diligence and compassion Detective Mitchell demonstrated in this case. He spent years working alongside the family, service providers, and prosecution to ultimately hold a man responsible for his terrible actions. It was a job well done.”
According to Stratton, McInnis will be eligible to go before a parole board after serving 23 years of his sentence. Stratton says McInnis was given the maximum sentence permitted by law under the Michigan guidelines.