2011-09-29 / Law Enforcement

Roscommon prosecutor appeals sex offender’s parole

The Roscommon County Prosecutor’s Office submitted an appeal in 34th Circuit Court, Roscommon Sept. 22 to vacate the parole of convicted sex offender James H. Ragland, 60, who was convicted in 1994 after pleading guilty to first degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child under 13 years of age.

In an application to appeal the decision of the Michigan Department of Corrections Parole Board to grant Ragland parole, Assistant Prosecutor Robert W. Bennett noted that Ragland, who admitted to repeated sexual abuse against young children, had been sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Michael Matuzak to 20 to 45 years to life for his crime.

Bennett’s application for appeal noted that the court exceeded the three to eight-year minimum sentencing guideline in Ragland’s case due to his “predatory nature, lack of remorse and the recurring nature of his sexual assaults.” He also stated that the Parole Board’s decision to release Ragland on Sept. 22, 2011 “is three years before the expiration of the minimum sentence ordered by the trial court.” Bennett also wrote the parole three years “before the expiration of his minimum sentence ordered by the trial court runs counter to the clear expectations of the sentencing judge.”

“A man like this, who preys on children, should not be walking the streets,” said the father of two of Ragland’s victims, who were two and four years old and living in Roscommon County when they were assaulted.

The prosecutor’s appeal of the parole board’s decision asks that the court vacate Ragland’s parole and send him back to prison or to “remand this matter back to the parole board for further review in light of the victim and prosecutor’s objection.”

Ragland is currently at the Jackson Prison release center. He is scheduled to be moved to a sex offender release program in Muskegon on Oct. 4, after which he will be released to Roscommon County.

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