REED CITY – A convicted sex offender was sentenced to prison this week for regularly sexually exploiting a child.
Evart’s Scott Eric Kerns Jr. told the judge he felt he had proven “time and again” that he could be a productive member of society during probation, if allowed, right before he was given jail time.
“I think that mistake really ruined me,” Kerns told Osceola County Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy when he was sentenced on Friday.
In connection with his arrest, the 39-year-old Kerns was initially charged with five first-degree sexual conduct. He later advocated no appeal against a third-degree criminal sexual behavior charge, and the remaining charges were dismissed.
According to court records, the charges stem from incidents that date back to July 14, 2020. Kerns regularly took advantage of a child he knew through a woman he was with, prosecutor Anthony Badovinac said at the hearing on Friday.
“I would like to remind you, judge, that this person was convicted of the same behavior in 2004,” said Badovinac.
Kerns was convicted of third-degree sexual behavior in August 2004, according to the state register of sex offenders.
“He was given four months and 15 days (in this case, imprisonment). Apparently he didn’t learn anything from it, ”said Badovinac. “… That is reprehensible to say the least and I fear it is a danger to society.”
Defense attorney Dennis DuVall argued that probation – as opposed to jail – would better allow Kerns to seek counseling and other programs necessary to success.
Kerns was sentenced to a minimum of 18 months – a maximum of five years – in state prison for his single charge.
Court records show that Kerns is facing two counts of first-degree criminal sexual behavior in the Mecosta County District Court. The charges in this case stem from incidents that date back to May 1, 2018, according to court records.
The victim in this case, Badovinac said, is the same victim in the Osceola County case.