Jerry Dowell, a 40-year-old St. Joseph County resident, will serve at least six years in prison after pleading no contest to second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a second offender.
St. Joseph County assistant prosecutor Deborah Davis said a girl and boy, now teens, lived with their mother and Dowell in various locations since 2007. Much of that time was in St. Joseph County.
The case started after Michigan State Police investigated a domestic abuse allegation in May 2021. The girl pulled the trooper aside and asked to speak to her at school. The girl and her then-half-brother laid out accusations of sexual abuse going back years. Dowell was charged with nine crimes.
Davis said the children later recanted most, but not all, of the accusations.
St. Joseph County Circuit Judge Paul Stutesman gave Dowell the maximum sentence under Michigan’s sentencing guidelines. He detailed Dowell’s criminal history with sex crimes, starting as a juvenile.