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Nunica man jailed for sexual contact with young teen

Becky Vargo • Aug 14, 2018 at 9:00 AM

As he apologized to his victim and her family, Kevin Stuhan acknowledged that what he had done can’t be taken away.

“That was a major lack of judgment,” the 46-year-old Nunica man said. “That was a one-time thing that will never happen again.”

Stuhan asked for leniency when he was being sentenced in Ottawa County Circuit Court on Monday for third-degree criminal sexual conduct. However, Judge Jon Hulsing had the defendant’s number.

“As far as the state goes, it was a series of deliberate mistakes,” Hulsing said. “This was not a one-up — it was multiple acts.”

Instead of granting leniency, Hulsing imposed a stricter sentence than what had been requested, ordering Stuhan to go to prison for a minimum of 6.25 years to a maximum of 15 years. The judge noted that the sentence included the highest minimum that he could impose.

Stuhan was given credit for 157 days already served in jail. He must also register as a sex offender when he is released from prison.

Tina Hitsman said the man, whom she thought was a friend and a good father figure for her children, fooled all of them. In the process, he destroyed all of their lives, she said after the court hearing.

“The brother of a lifelong friend, and an acquaintance from many years ago, Kevin re-entered our lives under the pretense of helping to be a “’father figure,’ guide and mentor to my children,” Hitsman said in a statement read by a friend during the hearing. “In truth, Kevin Stuhan is a pedophile and sexual predator who selected a vulnerable family from the herd and manipulated his way into our lives in order to have access to my young daughter. He not only groomed her, he groomed our family.”

Hitsman’s daughter was 13 when Stuhan entered her life.

“For three years of my life, the worst possible thing anyone could have gone through happened to me,” the victim said in a statement read in court by her boyfriend. “For nearly a quarter of my life, I was subjected to rape, verbal, physical and mental abuse.” 

The victim said for three years she was repeatedly hurt, threatened and misled. She said she struggles with depression, anxiety attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I have built a wall around myself from my friends, my family and even my boyfriend,” her statement said. “Comfort is not an option for me anymore. I flinch when I am touched. I wake up to scared too get out of bed. I have lost a portion of my life I can never get back.”

Hitsman said her daughter lives inside her room and will not go anywhere unless she is accompanied by someone she trusts. 

“What teenager doesn’t want to go to Coast Guard Festival?” Hitsman asked, describing that person as being her daughter.

Hitsman said that she also suffers from depression and anxiety — “a sorrow that time will never heal,” she noted. She blamed herself for being blind to the abusive relationship between Stuhan and her child.

“In my ignorance, trust and eagerness to provide for my children, I never saw the signs that might have been obvious to a suspicious person,” Hitsman said. “Knowing that a sociopath, searching like a lion for a victim to devour, caused me to fail in that responsibility is a shame, guilt and sorrow from which I will never recover.”

Hulsing told family members not to blame themselves for what Stuhan did. 

“You should not let what someone else did disable you as you move forward in your lives,” the judge said. “You need to forgive yourselves.”

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