Source: Sherman Publications

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After two years, justice served

by Susan Bromley

September 28, 2011

More than two years after Duane Emery Kuerbitz was accused of sexually abusing the mentally incapacitated man for whom he was guardian in Brandon Township, the case is finally reaching its conclusion.

Kuerbitz, 50, pleaded guilty on Sept. 26 to one count of criminal sexual conduct, first degree, as well as one count of being a habitual offender, fourth offense in front of Sixth Circuit Court Judge Rae Lee Chabot. CSC, first degree is a felony punishable by up to life in prison. In exchange for his plea, an additional count of CSC, first degree and one count of CSC, third degree were dismissed.

Kuerbitz has been in the Oakland County Jail for the past 18 months and will receive credit for time served. Sentencing is set for Oct. 20.

"I'm glad justice was served," said Oakland County Sheriff's Office Detective Dale Brown. "It's good to know someone finally paid attention to the victim."

According to police reports, on July 25, 2009, Brandon Township deputies responded to Allen and Seymour Lake roads on a welfare check and upon arrival, made contact with the 31-year-old victim, who said he'd been abused by Kuerbitz since Kuerbitz became his guardian in 2007. The most recent assault occurred two days prior.

Kuerbitz and the victim had been living in a home in the 400 block of W. Seymour Lake Road since 2008. The victim described crimes committed against him by Kuerbitz that included forced sexual acts including sodomy.

On March 24, after several months of investigation by police and prosecutors, Dr. Charles Clark, a board certified forensic psychologist, conducted a mental evaluation on the victim, who was determined to be not mentally capable of consenting to sex, and has mental retardation as it is legally defined

.Kuerbitz was arrested March 31 at his residence in Bay City by the Fugitive Apprehension Team.

The Michigan Sex Offender Registry records showed that Kuerbitz had two convictions for criminal sexual conduct first degree (person under 13) from 1991 in Waterford.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper could not immediately be reached for comment.