A Sturgis man Rodney Combs, 51, will serve a minimum 10 years in prison after grooming a teenaged girl for sex.
Combs pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct in regard to one incident during the two-year relationship, which started in 2017.
The teen chose to not comment at sentencing or testify about the relationship. St. Joseph County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Gary Gabry asked Circuit Court Judge Paul Stutesman to sentence Combs to the maximum time, which Stutesman did.
Sturgis Police began an investigation in November 2019 after the victim’s family became aware of the illegal relationship. It was not until May of 2020 that Combs was arrested in the case.
Gabry agreed to the plea bargain because of the girl’s reluctance to testify in the case.
The maximum sentence is 15 years, but Combs will be eligible for parole at age 61 in 10 years.