Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

November 14, 2013

Two men face sex crime charges in GT County

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.

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