Traverse City Record-Eagle

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October 30, 2013

Koon guilty of sex crimes

TRAVERSE CITY — A Thompsonville man could spend 15 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of felony sex crimes.

Rodney Koon, 52, once took his battle with Grand Traverse County authorities over his medical marijuana rights all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

But one day after he emerged victorious in a decision that reshaped the state's "zero tolerance" approach toward marijuana patients who get behind the wheel and drive, he was accused of sexually assaulting a female acquaintance. A 13th Circuit Court jury took three hours on Wednesday to find him guilty of three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

"I think it was the right verdict," said Grand Traverse County Assistant Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg.

The victim said Koon was extremely intoxicated when he showed up on her porch on May 31 and began talking about sex, began to kiss her, then sexually assaulted her.

Koon's attorney, Randall Karfonta, aggressively challenged the victim's account during his client's trial.

In August, Koon pleaded guilty to drunkenly driving away from the victim's residence, where he left his shorts behind.

Moeggenberg said it's not uncommon for defense attorneys to attack the credibility of sexual assault victims. She said Karfonta's line of questioning sought to imply the victim made up details about the incident long after it occurred.

The prosecution and defense agreed before the trial that Koon's medical marijuana case was not relevant and it was not discussed.

Koon will remain out on bond until a Dec. 6 sentencing hearing. The charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

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