Kingsford man gets prison term for sexual assault


IRON MOUNTAIN — A Kingsford man will serve a minimum of 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.

William Vanpembrook, 63, was sentenced Tuesday in Dickinson County Circuit Court to as many as 25 years on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison; and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year penalty.

Vanpembrook made no excuses for his offenses and took responsibility “from the get-go,” defense attorney Henry McRoberts said.

McRoberts noted Vanpembrook’s only criminal history consisted of three misdemeanors — each unrelated to the conduct Vanpembrook had been convicted of — and asked that Dickinson County Circuit Judge Mary Barglind consider a prison sentence at the lower end of the guideline range of 81 to 135 months.

The victim’s mother described the events surrounding the assaults as a “whirlwind.”

“Life changing,” the mother said. “Life devastating.”

The mother said she could forgive Vanpembrook his actions but could not forgive him the anguish her daughter would feel throughout her life.

“It’s hard to fathom how an individual could go from having a handful of misdemeanor convictions to committing multiple life offenses,” Dickinson County Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Richards said, adding Vanpembrook’s crimes were “calculated.”

Richards credited Vanpembrook for accepting responsibility for the offenses, sparing the child and her family a painful trial, but said the serious nature of his crimes deserved serious consequences.

Richards asked Barglind follow the recommendation in the pre-sentence investigation report for a 10-year minimum sentence.

Vanpembrook said he would not ask the family for forgiveness but did apologize for his actions.

“There’s not many things I actually feel sorry for in my life,” Vanpembrook said, later adding, “I’m so sorry. I don’t even know how to act when it comes to that.”

“You’ve led a life as someone I would describe as a good, productive member” of society, Barglind said, noting it was difficult to understand how Vanpembrook could “defile, assault, sexually abuse a young, innocent girl — a child — for what can only be presumed to be selfish, twisted, evil and disgusting reasons.”

“There are certain offenses so severe, so reprehensible and so harmful to our citizenry” they deserve severe punishment, Barglind said. “This is one of those.”

According to the criminal complaint, Vanpembrook engaged in multiple acts of sexual assault against the minor Aug. 8 and 9. He also gave her marijuana and encouraged her to smoke it.

Initially, Vanpembrook had been charged with two additional counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct as well as fleeing a police officer-fourth degree, a two-year felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a child, a 90-day misdemeanor. He reportedly failed to stop his vehicle when police pursued him with lights and siren, the complaint stated.

Richards agreed to dismiss those charges in exchange for his guilty plea. Richards also agreed not to seek consecutive sentences and recommend a sentence within the applicable guideline range.


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