The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Erwin Township man pleads to sex crimes


January 18, 2020


Bessemer — An Erwin Township man pleaded to two sex crimes in Gogebic County Circuit Court Friday.

Thomas Perez, 60, entered no-contest pleas to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person between the ages of 13 and 16 as part of a plea agreement that will have three other counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct dismissed at sentencing.

Each of the two counts Perez pleaded to carries a potential life sentence and mandatory lifetime electronic monitoring if released.

The plea agreement also calls for a sentencing recommendation that falls within the Michigan Department of Correction’s sentencing guidelines in the case and that the two sentences be served concurrently.

A no-contest plea is treated as a guilty plea for the purposes of sentencing, but doesn’t require an admission of guilt.

In court Friday, Gogebic County Circuit Judge Michael Pope said there were several reasons for the no-contest pleas — including the potential for civil liability if guilt is admitted, a reluctance from a defendant to admit the sordid details of a crime and Perez’s inability to recollect dates or other facts needed for a guilty plea.

“So for all those reasons, the court believes there is adequate legal basis to accept a no-contest plea from the defendant,” Pope said.

He said testimony from the preliminary exam in the case was entered into the record as the factual basis for Friday’s plea agreement.

Perez is scheduled to be sentenced March 17.

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