March 06, 2012 | 04:12 PMELKHORN — Judge John Race said Michael T. Grant groomed teenage girls and described him as a "serial sex offender," during a March 2 sentencing hearing.
Race sentenced Grant, 45, N4972 Town Hall Road, Delavan Township, to 12 years imprisonment. In November, a jury found him guilty of repeated sexual assault of a child. Grant, who also goes by Tim, has denied the sexual assaults and told a presentence investigator that he was only found guilty because the victims and witnesses lied and his lawyer let him down.
Grant, who declined to speak during the sentencing hearing, was charged with two counts of sexual assault, but a jury found him not guilty of one of the counts. However, during the hearing Race said he believes the other girl also was sexually assaulted by Grant.
"I found her to be very credible, and I believe what she said. I believe she was sexually assaulted," Race said. "He has a behavioral history of sexually exploiting young girls."
The assaults occurred between 1997 and 1998, which is prior to the truth-in-sentencing laws. Because of this, Grant will be eligible for parole after he serves 25 percent of his sentence. After he serves two-thirds of his sentence, he has a mandatory release date.
Grant worked and lived at the Fantasy Hills Ranch in the town of Delavan, which is where the assaults took place.
"This employment was a perfect opportunity to have teenage girls flocking around him," District Attorney Phil Koss said during the hearing. "It is a parent's worse nightmare to take your child out to a positive hobby and then to have them mixed up with Mr. Grant."
According to the criminal complaint, beginning around Sept. 1, 1997, Grant carried on a sexual relationship with a girl, who at the time was between the age of 14 and 15. The girl, who is now 29, told the judge she was ashamed, which is why she didn't come forward sooner.
"I wish to see him receive the maximum sentence, because deep in my heart I know I'm not the only one," the victim said.
As a child, the girl said she heard about sexual predators, but "No one tells you it can be someone who is nice and someone you trust."
Grant had friends and a former customer at Fantasy Hills write letters to the judge, and two people spoke about his character at the sentencing. At the hearing, half the courtroom was filled with Grant's family and friends.
One of his friends said Grant lived with him for several months and he trusted him around his young children.
"I had the most trust in the world that he treated them the same way I would," he said.
His friends also said he helped law enforcement search for a missing woman in the town of Delavan.
Grant's attorney, James Duquette, told Race that Grant received a humanitarian award from the Humane Society for nurturing horses that were in poor condition.
"He has a pro-social history and has established himself as a valuable member of the community," he said.
An alterative pre-sentence investigation, which was prepared for the defense, recommended Grant receive probation and one-year in the county jail with work release privileges.
Without being specific, Koss argued that Grant needed to receive a lengthy prison sentence. He said the Oshkosh Correctional Institute offers a program for people who deny their involvement in the sexual assaults.
Koss said he believed the victims were heroes for stepping forward.
"They came forward to break this cycle knowing that they would be cross examined and that there motives would be checked," he said.