Edwardsburg man sentenced for sexual abuse

CASSOPOLIS – An Edwardsburg man is going to prison after pleading guilty to sexual assault related charges against an underage girl.

Joshua Lee Cutler, 29, of Edwardsburg, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration and was sentenced Friday in Cass Circuit Court to six to 10 years in prison. He must register as a sex offender.

The incidents occurred between September 2010 and November 2017 at locations in Cass County. Cutler was initially charged with eight counts including three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, which were dismissed upon Cutler’s plea to the two assault counts.

Joshua Lee Cutler

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Cutler acknowledged his actions against the victim and apologized for what he did. Cutler said he himself had been molested in the past.

Fitz noted that the victim’s statements were backed up by phone records as well as the testimony of at least one witness.

“These crimes affected her in many different ways, both physically and emotionally, including others not believing her and blaming her for what happened,” Fitz said.

Also Friday, two other area residents were sentenced in cases involving stolen cars.

Fitz noted that there have been a rash of stolen vehicle incidents where people come into Cass County from other locations in stolen vehicles to commit crimes.

“We have a stolen car epidemic,” he said.

Eric Leo Stanton, 33, of Middlebury, pleaded guilty to receiving and concealing property over $1,000 but less than $20,000 and was sentenced to two years’ probation, completion of the Twin County Probation Center program and 210 days in jail.

The incident occurred Nov. 4 in Mason Township. A second charge of unlawful driving away of an automobile was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Fitz reported that Stanton has meth possession charges pending in Elkhart County. In this incident, Stanton was driving a stolen vehicle when he committed a larceny in Mason Township. Items taken included silverware, musical instruments and cameras.

Hope Morgan Lewis, 24, of Elkhart, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to two years’ probation, completion of the Twin County Probation Center program and 210 days in jail.

The incident occurred Oct. 1 in Ontwa Township. Lewis also faces drug charges in Elkhart County. In the Cass County case, three other charges were dismissed: another count of unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle, operating with a false or altered license and driving with an expired license.

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