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Gwinn man to serve decades in prison for CSC offenses involving minors

BROWNELL (Photo courtesy the Marquette County Sheriff's Department)

MARQUETTE — Brenden Trey Brownell, 20, of Gwinn, has been sentenced to serve 25-60 years in prison with the Michigan Department of Corrections, according to the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office.

He had pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of aggravated child sexually abusive activity, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of child sexually abusive material – aggravated possession, and two counts of child sexually abusive material – possession, a news release from the prosecutor’s office states.

Brownell committed these offenses while he was free on bond charged with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, officials said in the release.

“Mr. Brownell is a child predator. He groomed and abused two different young children while he was facing charges for having done the same to another child. Yet even the prospect of prison was not enough to keep him from committing these heinous crimes,” Marquette County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Andy Griffin, who prosecuted the cases, said in the release. “This defendant preyed on his victims through a circle of friends and through a youth group that he was allowed to be involved in. Instead of being in a safe environment, these children were victimized by the defendant who cared only for his own deviant desires.”

Griffin said this incident is an example of how important it is to stay vigilant in regards to people who interact with children.

“It’s hard to fathom at times that this can happen, but parents need to remember that a child molester acts as a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he said in the release. “They don’t advertise to others that they’re intent on molesting children. Trust your instincts and err on the side of caution when it comes to who is around your children or communicating with them.”

He also noted he was proud of the children who came forward in regards to the situation.

“These children are the true heroes in these cases. At only 12 years of age, they reported what he had done to them, they worked with police officers, they worked with our office and they stood up to take back some of what this monster stole from them. I admire the courage they displayed and hope they find closure on this dark time in their lives.”

The defendant spent 609 days in jail pending the disposition of this case, as all trials were shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. He entered his guilty pleas on March 25 and was sentenced on Friday, according to the prosecutor’s office. He is currently housed at the Marquette Branch Prison awaiting transfer to the Charles Egeler Reception and Guidance Center in downstate Jackson. Given the amount of time he spent in jail, the earliest date he will be eligible for parole is Oct. 10, 2044, officials said.

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