A trio of Tuscola County residents face significant amounts of time in prison if convicted of abuse charges involving two young children.
Robert Lee Feldhouse II, 26, Caro, is charged with 10 counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, and two charges of second degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, Feldhouse could be sentenced to life in prison. He is currently being held in Tuscola County jail on a $500,000 cash-surety bond.
Also facing charges in connection with the case are Lynette Pearl Kester, 34, Vassar, and William Douglas-Mitchell Dewey, 55. They each face six counts of second-degree child abuse, and up to 10 years in prison, if convicted. They are being held in Tuscola County jail; Kester on a $50,000 cash-surety bond, Dewey on a $100,000 cash-surety bond.
Tuscola County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Reene said Kester and Dewey face the child abuse charges because they allegedly allowed Feldhouse near their children – an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old – despite being warned against it.
The charges against Kester and Dewey allege they “did knowingly or intentionally commit an act likely to cause serious physical or mental harm to a child after being repeatedly warned by various agencies not to leave his or her minor child in care or custody of Robert Feldhouse.”
The charges state that Kester and Dewey were warned against doing so by representatives of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Tuscola Behavioral Health Systems, and/or the Tuscola County Sheriff’s Department.
However, Reene said on Jan. 11, representatives of the Child Advocacy Center of Tuscola County had sufficient reason to believe the warnings had been ignored.
Due to the nature of the charges and ages of the alleged victims, Reene was unable to provide too many details about the case.
However, he said that after Child Advocacy Center became involved, what followed was “12 straight hours of investigation and working through things incrementally.”
He said Feldhouse was “more of a family friend” who had lived with Kester and Dewey for some time, though he had apparently recently moved out.
Reene said Kester and Dewey allegedly allowed their children to go to where Feldhouse lived in Caro, Reene said.
“When you have information that your children may be at risk in an environment, it is your first and foremost obligation to take all steps to ensure their safety,” Reene told The Advertiser.
Reene said he couldn’t elaborate on what caused the warnings. Feldhouse is not on the state’s sex offender registry.
He said that oftentimes, such risks are unknown, “but this is a circumstance that had gone on for some time and the two parents had specifically been warned about who they should allow to have access to their children and here’s what’s happened.”
The three are separately set to appear in Tuscola County District Court for preliminary examination hearings on Jan. 30.
Andrew Dietderich is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at email@example.com