Following a two-day jury trial, a 47-year-old Merrill man was found not guilty of second degree sexual assault Tuesday afternoon.
David R. Hayes, however, was found guilty of a misdemeanor count of having sex with a child 16 or older. He was sentenced to five days in jail and two years probation. Hayes was also ordered to undergo sex offender evaluation and treatment, and have no contact with the victim or her immediate family. Sex offender registry was deferred.
The alleged incident dates back to August 2012, while the misdemeanor charge was initially filed in November 2014. The first case was dismissed in February 2015, but re-filed five days later with the addition of a felony count of 2nd degree sexual assault/use of force.
According to court records, the incident took place in August 2012 in Hayes’ vehicle while he was giving the then-17-year-old victim a ride home from a party at the Lincoln Gun Club in the town of Scott. Hayes reportedly forced her to perform oral sex on him.
After the incident came to light, Hayes was questioned by law enforcement. He reportedly apologized and said he was very intoxicated at the time.
At trial, defense attorney Wright Laufenberg argued that the sexual contact was consensual. Laufenberg called the incident a “terrible choice” and a “mistake.”
“There was no coersion involved in any of this,” he said.