The Antrim County Courthouse

BELLAIRE — A teenage survivor of a July sexual assault stood at a podium in 13th Circuit Court and, flanked by her parents, delivered what a judge called the most impactful victim impact statement he’d ever heard.

“This is not your fault,” 13th Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer said after listening to the 15-year-old speak in a quiet, steady voice for nearly a half hour about how the assault had, and was, affecting her and her family.

“That was the best, most truthful victim impact statement I’ve ever heard and I’ve been at this for quite a long time,” Elsenheimer said. “You are really an extraordinary young woman.”

The teenager spoke to the judge in open court Monday morning during a sentencing hearing for Patrick Kenneth Fillmore Jr., 36, of Mancelona, who was arraigned in August on three felony criminal sexual conduct charges related to the accused assault.

The public livestream of the court hearing was disabled because of the age of the teenager; the Record-Eagle does not identify underage survivors of sexual assault.

The teenager is a member of Fillmore Jr.’s extended family, court records show, and the assault took place at a Helena Township home owned by another relative.

“I know I did nothing to deserve this,” the teenager said. “I shouldn’t know what a victim impact statement is. I shouldn’t have to write one. I have lost trust in people. I don’t feel like I have my childhood anymore.”

Since the assault, she has lost interest in activities she used to enjoy, such as school clubs and athletics, and she now avoids people and often feels afraid and anxious, she said.

The confident way she had approached the world is gone, she said.

The case stems from a 911 call made to Antrim County Central Dispatch by the teenager’s father on July 15.

The caller’s report was investigated by officers with the Antrim County Sheriff’s Office, records show, and Fillmore Jr. was later arraigned on three felony criminal sexual conduct charges, some of which were adjusted following a plea agreement Fillmore Jr.’s attorney, Michael Connolly, negotiated with the Antrim County Prosecutor’s office.

“He stole her positive outlook on life,” Prosecutor James Rossiter told Elsenheimer regarding Fillmore Jr’s accused crimes. “He stole her confidence in what a family is supposed to be.”

The teenager’s mother, who is on active duty military, also read a statement, first praising her daughter and then chastising other family members who were home at the time of the assault but who she said did not immediately believe her daughter or call police.

The teenager and her younger sister were staying at the Helena Township home owned by a relative after their parents scheduled a rare date night following the teenager’s mother’s return from an overseas deployment.

The teenager told Elsenheimer that, during the assault, she concentrated on protecting her younger sister who was sleeping within arm’s reach — actions which the judge and the teenager’s mother publicly praised.

“She says she froze, but I think she went into Savior mode,” the teenager’s mother told Elsenheimer. “I thought I was taking her to a safe place. Instead, he committed the worst form of betrayal.”

Connolly acknowledged the power of the teenager’s impact statement, said his client had been provided with a written copy which he’d encouraged him to read.

Connolly also said Fillmore Jr. was remorseful, had been honest in his dealings with the attorney and never denied the assault occurred.

“There’s no way I can change what happened,” Fillmore Jr. said when he was asked by the judge if he wanted to make a statement.

Elsenheimer handed down a sentence of 86 to 180 months in prison on the charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and 120 to 180 months in prison on each of two charges of criminal sexual conduct third-degree, plus lifetime GPS monitoring and $1,880 in court costs.

Elsenheimer said court rules prohibited consecutive or more lengthy sentences.

“The bottom line here is, there is enough evidence to support the charges,” Elsenheimer told Fillmore Jr. “You not only harmed the victim, you destroyed an entire family.”

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