A Scottville man could conceivably spend the rest of his life in prison after he was sentenced to a term of 9 to 60 years with the Michigan Department of Corrections Tuesday.
Tommy Bruce Lemire, 61, of 125 W. Broadway St., was sentenced by 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan Sniegowski on a plea of no contest to the charge of first degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC).
Lemire repeatedly raped a young girl beginning when she was 10 until she was 14. It stopped at that age only because she broke her silence. Lemire had threatened her, saying that if she told anyone he would go to prison for a long time and that she would go to a juvenile detention facility.
The incident was reported in June 2020 to the Scottville Police Department and Lemire was arrested in December. At the time of his arrest he was charged with three counts: two counts of CSC first degree, and one count of CSC second degree
Both the victim, who is now 15, and her mother addressed the court with gut-wrenching testimony as part of the Victim’s Impact Statements.
Both the prosecutor and the judge used the word “egregious” several times during the proceedings, which were held via Zoom amid COVID-19 concerns.
“These actions are so egregious, and there is no doubt in those police reports — not only the statements from the victim but corroborating statements from Mr. Lemire — that there are no denials; there is no indication that this didn’t happen, but there’s a whole lot of excuses being made for why it did happen,” the judge said.
Lemire made statements that he was doing something to “help” the victim by abusing her Judge Sniegowski said.
“It’s just egregious,” she continued, addressing Lemire. “And your statements that you don’t understand why this is bad, therein lies a huge problem here. There is no question this is bad; there is no question this was wrong; there is no question that this was harmful to the victim and her family.”
“It’s hard to determine what is more egregious in this case — the sexual acts that were perpetrated on the victim in this case, or the defendant’s justification for those acts,” Prosecutor Lauren Krienbrink said. “The defendant in this case took advantage of that trust in the most egregious way possible. The rapes occurred essentially every time she was alone with the defendant, sometimes three and four times a week.
“He said his justification for the acts was that he was teaching her how to ‘please a man’ and ‘how not to get pregnant,’ ” she continued. “He has demonstrated an absolute lack of remorse for those actions that have deeply traumatized this victim.”
The victim’s mother said she had lost all respect for the justice system of which she once held in high regard.
“I’ve just lost my faith in it all throughout this whole process,” she continued, citing delays and lack of communication from last June until the time of Lemire’s arrest last December.
“I had to push this case because no one else would,” she added. “How is a child molester not a top priority? From the time it was reported until he got arrested I had to worry that every time we would go to the store we would run into him, or someone in his family who still sides with him.
“I worry about my daughter’s safety from herself when she is alone. Our family had to mold our life and habits around avoiding him and others who supported him while he walked around free. We’ve had to bear the brunt of explaining his actions while he dismisses it and places the blame onto a child. You keep blaming my daughter, a child, rather than accepting responsibility.”
The victim told Lemire he had stolen the chance of a normal childhood away from her.
“Your actions have influenced almost every aspect of my life,” the victim said, stating that she suffered from anorexia, self-harm and sleep deprivation.
“You manipulated me by making me feel guilty for daring to tell, by telling me if I did, I would break your trust,” the victim continued. “What about my trust that was broken? Why are you — a fully grown adult — trying to make me feel responsibility for trouble you find yourself in because of your actions?”
“On top of the way you used me and manipulated me, you continue to let me take the heat for the things you did.”
Defense attorney Al Swanson told the court that Lemire had no prior record before this offense.
“I’m very sorry for what has happened,” Lemire told the court. “I can’t believe what I just heard. I wish with all my heart that this never, ever happened. Everything that I heard from them is what I feel (in reference to the victim and her mother’s statements).
“I just don’t know what I did for them to believe what that is … how they could ever think like that … I’m just so very sorry that all this has happened.
Lemire said that he hopes the victim in the case and her family can move on with their lives.
“If that means that I have to take full responsibility I will do so,” he said. “This has just torn me up completely. I just ask for forgiveness.”