CARO — The jury trial for a Mayville man accused of sexually assaulting a minor dozens of times over the course of about five years is set to begin Tuesday with jury selection.
Ryan C. Purdy was charged in August 2019 with 58 counts of criminal sexual conduct – 29 each of first-degree CSC and second-degree CSC. According to court files, the alleged sexual misconduct began in 2013 and ended in 2018 and occurred in Fremont and Millington townships. The alleged victim was a minor child who lived in the same home as Purdy.
Purdy worked as a Saginaw County probation officer from September 1995 until his resignation in April 2003.
The then-21-year-old alleged female victim contacted Michigan State Police on May 20, 2019, to report that Purdy had sexually abused her.
The road to a jury trial in this case was a bumpy one. The 49-year-old Purdy was scheduled for trial on Jan. 12, but the day before it was to begin, the Tuscola County Prosecutor’s office requested a nolle prosequi (the dismissal of a lawsuit). Assistant prosecutor Erica Walle had a week earlier asked for an adjournment of the trial due to the discovery of new evidence. Tuscola County Circuit Court Judge Amy Grace Gierhart denied the request.
Gierhart told Walle it had been more than 16 months since the case against Purdy was bound over to circuit court. The original date for a jury trial was Dec. 10, 2019. The trial was adjourned and rescheduled for Feb. 24, 2020, after the defense requested a motion for further discovery. The trial was rescheduled again for March 2020 after another postponement, which again was adjourned. The next date of the trial, May 19, 2020, didn’t happen because the Tuscola County Courthouse was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gierhart approved the nolle prosequi request on Jan. 11, and on Jan. 12 the prosecutor’s office reissued the same charges against Purdy, who has remained free on bond since shortly after his August 2019 arrest.
Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark Reene said the alleged victim lived in the same home as Purdy but is not related to him.
MLive.com reported Purdy’s attorney, Bay City-based Brian Jean, told Tuscola County Magistrate Joseph Van Auken at Purdy’s arraignment that the alleged sexual acts between his client and the victim were consensual, and that they started after the girl turned 16, which is the legal age of consent in Michigan.
But the prosecution contends the evidence presents a different story.
“The charged conduct spans between the time she was 15 and 18 years of age,” Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark Reene told The Advertiser previously. “Despite the number of counts, it’s only a small fraction of the conduct that’s been addressed.”
Both first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct include sexual penetration. First-degree CSC carries a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment while third-degree CSC carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Purdy’s trial is scheduled for 3-4 days.