Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 14, 2013

Two men face sex crime charges in GT County

BY MICHAEL WALTON mwalton@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County prosecutors are pursuing felony charges against two men accused of criminal sexual conduct.

Michael Latham, of Clanton, Ala., faces a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge in 86th District Court, and Guy Shelton, of Grawn, faces a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge in the same venue.

The criminal charges stem from two unrelated allegations of sexual abuse.

Latham, 22, is accused of inappropriately touching a minor female relative during a weekend visit to Latham’s mother’s house in Traverse City last month, court records state.

Shelton, 42, is a registered sex offender. He is accused of persuading his ex-wife’s minor female relative to touch him inappropriately in Kingsley about seven years ago, according to court documents.

The victim in that case reported the incident in May to a school counselor who then contacted police. Court records indicated the victim, now 14, came forward after she learned Shelton is a registered sex offender.

Shelton was convicted of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan’s 19th Circuit Court in 1997, according to the Michigan State Police online sex offender database.

Grand Traverse County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said it’s not unusual for young victims in sex crime cases to wait “a very long time” before telling someone about the abuse.

“A lot of times when they are that young they don’t realize it was something wrong,” she said.

Moggenberg said young victims may hesitate to report sexual abuse because they fear they did something wrong.

Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputies arrested Shelton on Nov. 7, court documents state. He was arraigned the following day and released from jail on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond, Grand Traverse County Jail Lt. Buck Monroe said.

State police arrested Latham on Nov. 8. He was released from jail the next day on a $250,000 bond with 10 percent due to the court, Monroe said.

Neither Shelton nor Latham entered pleas during their arraignments this month, court records show.

Traverse City-based attorney Gerald Chefalo represents both men. He could not be reached for comment.

Shelton’s second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges carries a possible penalty of 15 years in prison, but he could be sentenced to more time due to habitual offender stipulations attached to his charge.

Latham faces up to life in prison if convicted of the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.

Shelton is scheduled to next appear in court on Nov. 21 and Latham on Nov. 26, according to court documents.