Man convicted of sandwich shop sexual misconduct

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 8, 2023

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STERLING HEIGHTS — A man accused of raping a teenage coworker at a Sterling Heights restaurant in 2020 was recently found guilty of the act, according to the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Prosecutor’s Office announced Jan. 27 that Jerry Jerome Brown-Pegues was found guilty of criminal sexual conduct in Macomb County Circuit Court.

Brown-Pegues was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony. He also faces a mandatory five years of prison due to a second offense notice, as he had earlier been paroled for another third-degree criminal sexual conduct incident, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

According to court records, the criminal offense in Sterling Heights happened in August 2020 at a Sterling Heights Jimmy John’s restaurant. Prosecutors said that the teenage victim refused Brown-Pegues’ sexual advances prior to the assault and that Brown-Pegues, who at the time was 36 years old, responded with aggression and did the criminal act in a storage room.

Brown-Pegues’ jury trial was held in January of this year. The jury deliberations prior to the guilty verdict were reportedly short — they started at 11:41 a.m. and finished by 12:17 p.m. that same day.

In an emailed statement, Macomb County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark Laws thanked his colleague, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Molly Zappitell, for her “many, many months of hard work” and preparation via reviewing transcripts, video and witness statements.

Lewis also commented on the jury verdict.

“I am glad the jury was able to quickly evaluate the evidence and reach a unanimous verdict,” he said. “I think they saw this defendant for exactly what he was — a grown man preying on a young, vulnerable victim. I know that the victim and her family are thankful for justice and to have this case behind them.”

Brown-Pegues is set to be sentenced March 22 before Macomb County Circuit Judge Julie Gatti. Brown-Pegues’ listed attorney, Gary Kennedy II, could not be reached for comment by press time.