VASSAR — A Vassar man could face up to life in prison after he was charged with multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct with a child under the age of 16.
Andy Huizar, 43, was arraigned in Tuscola County District Court last week for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He faces up to life for the first-degree charge and 15 years for the second-degree charges.
Tuscola County’s Prosecuting Attorney Mark Reene said the mother of the victim notified authorities and the victim was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center of Tuscola County, which receives an average of 225 interviews involving suspected criminal sexual conduct and child abuse on an annual basis.
After interviewing the victim, Reene said authorities learned that the incident occurred between March of 2012 and March of this year.
Huizar was immediately taken into custody, but he has already been released on bond.
“It’s one of our biggest issues,” Reene said. “It’s the least reported crime there is … that’s one of the challenges we have.”
Reene added that a change in the child’s behavior is one of the first signs of abuse, and parents or loved ones are encouraged to contact authorities if they suspect sexual abuse is occurring in a child’s life.
The Advocacy Center of Tuscola County offers several resources to victims of sexual abuse, including medical exams and counseling services.
For more information, visit cac-tuscola.com.
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Huizar does not have previous convictions.
His preliminary exam has been scheduled for April 11.
Beth Waldon is a staff writer for The Advertiser and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org