Kunick gets 21 mos. to 15 years for CSC

HOUGHTON – A Nisula man was sentenced to 21 months to 15 years in prison in Houghton County Circuit Court Thursday for sexually assaulting a child.

Lloyd Kunick, 68, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13, a 15-year felony. Kunick received credit for 121 days served.

Prosecutor Michael Makinen argued the guidelines should be adjusted to account for another alleged incident involving Kunick and the boy’s brother, which he said established a pattern of predatory behavior. Judge Charles Goodman denied the request, noting the lack of a conviction and that it had occurred outside the five-year window for consideration.

Before, Kunick had been considered almost a grandfather figure, the boy’s mother said at the sentencing.

The mother said Kunick had exposed himself to the children and fondled them on a pretext of checking for wood ticks. She wanted a sentence of six to eight years – “three years for each of my boys and two more to keep other boys safe.”

“I think prison is where you need to be, so you can’t hurt anyone else,” she said. “You need to be as uncomfortable as you made my boys on their own property and in their own home … I hope you find your conscience while you’re in prison, because you do not have one now.”

Makinen took exception to a written pre-sentence statement from Kunick that contained the sentence “I am not a molester.”

“He is a molester,” Makinen said. “He’s a convicted molester … he keeps candy for kids, he keeps a place that’s appealing to kids. After this offense, he gives (the candy) to kids.”

Representing Kunick was Thomas Casselman, stepping in for Sarah Henderson, who could not attend. He argued for a sentence of a year. With Kunick’s myriad health problems, Casselman said, he was unlikely to live beyond the five-year term of his probation. Casselman said the sentence would also unduly affect Kunick’s wife, who would have to reapply for benefits and could not attend the hearing because of the strain.

“The likelihood of the public being threatened by this aged and infirm man in the future is much less than has been stated,” he said.

Casselman disputed the notion that Kunick was in denial, telling the court, “he accepts.”

Judge Charles Goodman said prison time was necessary to protect minors from Kunick.

“The behavior exhibited by the defendant must be punished,” he said. “I understand that punishment will have a negative impact on the defendant’s spouse, and that’s unfortunate, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the defendant needs to be held accountable for what transpired.”