GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Attorney General Mike Cox's office will appeal the decisionJudge David Buter made Thursday that dismissed the charges againstthe man accused of accosting a child for immoral purposes.
The decision came Thursday to dismiss Benjamin Walcott's case. Walcott was a youthfootball camp counselor accused of trying to get young boys to takeoff their shoes to satisfy his sexual needs.
In what appeared to be a rare move, Grand Rapids District Court Judge David Butersaidthe case Attorney General Mike Cox's office brought did notfit the definitions of the crime and dismissed the case.
The Attorney General's office said it will appeal the decisionto the Kent County Circuit Court.
The charges Walcott faces stem from July 2009. That was whenMichigan State Police received a call from a Delaware detective.It's unclear how, but the detective discovered Walcott, aregistered sex offender, was working as a counselor at an AlleganCounty youth football camp.
Walcott went by the alias Albright in order to avoid beingdiscovered on the sex offender list.
The people who ran the camp checked a computer Walcottfrequently used and found 75 to 100 pictures of him with bare feetpressed against his neck.
It wasn't the first time he had done this.
In 2001, Walcott admitted he got sexualgratification from kids crushing toys with their bare feet. Butprosecutors decided there wasn't a crime.
In 2002, he was convicted of a lesser charge offourth degree sexual assault for doing the same thing in KentCounty.
The Michigan Attorney General's office decided to prosecute thecase, charging Walcott with accosting a minor for immoral purpose,a four year felony.
Two teenagers who attended the Allegan camp testified Walcottused various excuses to video tape them crushing toys with theirbare feet.
But neither victim testified Walcott touched them or himselfwhile their feet were being recorded.
Prosecutors had to prove one of several elements to move thecase to trial in Circuit Court; that it was an immoral act,involved sexual intercourse, gross indenency, depravity ordelinquency.
"There were any number of proper charges which could have beenappropriately brought. They may have been less punitive in terms ofpenalty provisions than this one," Judge Buter said.
Walcott will be arraigned Monday in Ionia County on a charge ofworking in a school zone while on the sex offender list.
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