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Man gets 240 days jail for assault on GVSU student

Becky Vargo • Dec 20, 2017 at 10:00 AM

A Holland man who earlier pleaded guilty to assaulting a Grand Valley State University student was sent to jail for 240 days, following an emotional statement by his 20-year-old victim.

Landon Grant Bittrick, 20, pleaded guilty Nov. 13 to a charge of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration. On Monday, he apologized and said he believes the attack never would have happened if he hadn’t consumed alcohol that night.

“Alcohol is no longer in my life,” Bittrick told Judge Karen Miedema in Ottawa County Circuit Court.

Bittrick’s attorney, Jason Jansma, said there was alcohol consumed by both parties that night, but the alcohol led to “my client’s indiscretion. He’s deeply apologetic.”

The assault victim, who was 18 at the time of the attack, told the court she is just now starting to mentally recover from the attack. For a long time, she said she could never sleep when it was dark, slept mostly during the day and often fell asleep in class.

“I was no longer the straight-A student and resident assistant,” she said. “I felt like I had a sign around my neck that said, ‘Yes, I was raped. Can’t you tell?”

The victim said nothing mattered after the attack. She said she also was accused of lying and cheating, that it was easier to call her that than accusing the defendant.

As she has struggled since that time, the victim said it pained her to see her mom look at her “with so much pain and devastation in her eyes.”

Miedema said these cases are always very difficult. She noted that she reviewed letters of support for Bittrick that said he was a Christian, athlete, responsible, a good man, hard worker and respectful.

“I’m sure that most of the time you are those things,” the judge said. But, she noted, based on the victim’s statement, that the victim’s view was in direct contrast.

In addition to the jail time, Bittrick will be on probation for five years once he is released. He must have no contact with the victim and must also register as a sex offender.

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