STANTON — A Montcalm County jury deliberated about two hours before convicting a Greenville man of molesting pre-teens at his own daughter’s sleepover party.
Jonas Lownsbery, 37, was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct dating back to an incident on May 9, 2010. He went to trial on Tuesday in 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Stanton and was found guilty on Wednesday.
The 13-year-old female victim testified at a preliminary hearing in February 2011 that she was 12 years old when she went to her 12-year-old friend’s house in Greenville for a sleepover. A third female friend was also present at the sleepover.
The victim said she went to sleep around midnight on the living room floor and woke up around 3 a.m. to find Lownsbery lying on the couch next to her and fondling her through her clothes. The girl called her mother in Edmore, her sister in Stanton and Lownsbery’s ex-wife in Crystal for assistance. The ex-wife picked up the girl from the home, and, after learning what had happened, went back and picked up the two other girls from the home.
The victim said Lownsbery had previously sexually assaulted her at his former home in Carson City a few years prior.
Second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison, but Lownsbery is also a habitual offender second offense so the maximum sentence is now 22.5 years in prison, according to Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause.
“It is good to finally have some closure for the victim and her family,” Krause said. “We waited quite a long time for a higher court to issue an opinion on a certain legal issue that was important to this case.”
Lownsbery’s attorney, Keeley Heath of Stanton, declined comment for this story.
Lownsbery will be sentenced at a later date.