Mark Douglas Weiss, 58, of Broadway in Niles, was sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court for unlawful imprisonment and assault with intent to commit second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The incident occurred Oct. 9 in Riverfront Park near the French Paper Company dam during daylight hours.
Berrien County Trial Judge Scott Schofield sentenced Weiss to 14 years in prison for the unlawful imprisonment charge and three and a half years in prison for the assault charge.
The two sentences are to run concurrently. Weiss was given credit for 226 days already served and ordered to pay $266 in fines and costs.
Weiss apologized for his actions.
"I am truly sorry, I'm very remorseful and sorry that it did happen," he said.
The judge said Weiss did great harm.
"I have to consider the effect your conduct had on your victim and all the women in the community," Schofield said. "You basically destroyed this young woman's innocence."
"That a woman would be sexually assaulted in daylight hours in a public place makes all women on guard and diminishes their quality of life," he told Weiss.
The judge said Weiss had destroyed the victim's sense of safety. "You've taken something very precious from this young woman and all people," he said.
"As she writes in her victim impact statement, 'I can't drive with my doors unlocked, I hate that'," he said. "She goes on to say 'I shouldn't have to live in a world where bad guys hurt good people'."
Assistant Prosecutor Steve Pierangeli said Weiss' sentence was greater than the sentencing guidelines because of an agreement between him and defense attorney Shannon Sible.
They agreed that Schofield could depart upward from the guidelines of 50 to 105 months without giving a reason because of the dismissal of two more serious charges.
Charges of kidnapping and assault with intent to murder, both of which carry maximum penalties of life in prison, were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, Pierangeli said.
In another sentencing, a St. Joseph man is going to prison for two years for conducting a criminal enterprise by stealing and keeping credit cards, cash and checks.
Ryan Donald Sater-Morse, 25, of Lions Park Drive in St. Joseph, was sentenced to two years in prison with credit for 25 days already served for conducting a criminal enterprise.
He must pay $198 in fines and costs and $1,910 in restitution. His co-defendant, Krystal Hall, will be sentenced June 6.
Two of their victims spoke in court Monday. They said the couple not only stole their purses, they stole their piece of mind and caused them problems ranging from inconvenience to lost income.
One woman said that she had just cashed her check from substitute teaching when her purse was stolen at the Meijer's in Benton Township. "Our concern was that he had our address and the keys to our home," she said.
Another woman talked about the stress it had caused her to change over everything including her checkbook and her credit cards.
"My emotional ordeal has been tremendous," she said. "I've worked hard my whole life, I don't feel it's right. I've never been a victim before, and it's been a terrible stress."
Defense attorney Albert Mais said Sater-Morse took the money and credit cards to support his drug habit. "He's not a violent person, he basically stole cards and money to buy drugs," he said.
"I'm very sorry for stealing the purses and using their credit cards," Sater-Morse said. "I'm a drug addict and wasn't in my right state of mind. It's not the kind of person I am."
Schofield said poor choices were made.
"But yet you did it," the judge said. "You were on drugs because of the choices you made. ... Defendants say 'it's not the real me' but they can't divide their actions into the 'bad me' who is not responsible and the 'real me'."
"You are responsible for all the things you do, they're all products of your choices," he said. "You have to pay back the expenses of what you stole but you can never pay them back for what they went through."
"You stole stuff from them, but that's not the worst of it," he said. "You inconvenienced them greatly but the most important thing you took from them was their sense of safety, security and well being. That's not easily restored."