Man sentenced up to 50 years in prison for 1998 rape

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 20, 2015

 Michael Loftis enters the Macomb County Circuit Court Oct. 20 for his criminal sentencing. Loftis was sentenced to 15-50 years for a sexual assault case dating back to July of 1998.

Michael Loftis enters the Macomb County Circuit Court Oct. 20 for his criminal sentencing. Loftis was sentenced to 15-50 years for a sexual assault case dating back to July of 1998.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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MOUNT CLEMENS — A Macomb County Circuit Court judge sentenced Michael Loftis, 46, Oct. 20 to 15-50 years in prison after pleading guilty to a 1998 rape in which a 62-year-old woman was assaulted following a church event.

Loftis also is banned from contacting the victim’s family and must be registered under Michigan’s current sex offender laws. He can appeal his sentence. Loftis will receive credit for 531 days served. 

According to Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Steve Fox, the woman was leaving a summer festival at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Roseville in July 1998 after playing bingo with friends when Loftis attempted to rob her. She did not have any money on hand, and Loftis forced her into her car and made her drive behind a liquor store, where he sexually assaulted her.

The victim died in 2011 of natural causes.

Cheryl York, a relative of the woman, said the woman was different after the assault, only going out during the day or with friends. The woman was “terrified” that her assailant would come after her after allegedly claiming he knew where she lived.

“She moved from the community she lived in for 30 years because she didn’t feel safe,” York said. “She was no longer the strong, independent mother and grandmother we all knew. He took this from us.” 

Defense attorney Thomas Tomko said that a sentence has particular reasons behind it: to protect the community, to rehabilitate or punish offenders, and to discourage other potential offenders. He said that Loftis is a different person than he was in 1998 — a hardworking member of society with a family — and so rehabilitation and protecting the community would not apply. He said Loftis should be punished, but only for his actions, not for any broader points.

“Is he a monster, a threat to society? I say no — he’s changed over the years,” Tomko said. “It doesn’t change what he did, and he should be punished, but is he going to be repeating anything? I don’t think so.”

Loftis offered a tearful apology, saying that he regretted what he did and that he wished he could turn back time.

Fox dismissed that apology and said that in remarks to a probation officer, Loftis claimed that he and the victim had a “one night stand” because he did not remember any assault occurring. Even if Loftis is a different man from 1998, Fox said, Loftis should be judged and punished based on who he was at the time of the assault.

Loftis had been convicted of a previous sexual assault in the early 1990s, and his sentencing reflected him being a “habitual second offender,” Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Faunce said.

“It’s not lost on me that this is a second offense, and it’s not lost on me that as the probation officer put it, you never accepted responsibility or showed remorse,” Faunce said during sentencing. “You left a woman fearful for the rest of her life, and that’s how it ended for her: without resolution.”

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