NORTHVILLE (WWJ) – A 37-year-old man who ran off with a 15-year-old girl has been charged with multiple counts of sex abuse in the case.
Robert Messer, of Northville, was arraigned Thursday in 35th District Court on one count of criminal sexual conduct — first degree, three counts of criminal sexual conduct — third degree, and one count of accosting a minor for immoral purposes.
Bond was set at $2 million.
A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
Lisa Schwartz said her daughter, Emily Lalinsky, took off with Messer, a close family friend, on Sunday,
It’s alleged that Messer had sexual contact with Lalinsky at locations in Wayne and Washtenaw counties.
The pair was eventually found Tuesday in a Washtenaw County field with what were described as “minor self-inflicted injuries.” Lalinsky was taken to the hospital for treatment and observation while Messer was placed under arrest.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Messer apparently drove Lalinsky from her Plymouth Township home to his home in Northville. Later that afternoon, around 2:30 p.m., Messer and Lalinsky were seen leaving his home together, Worthy said.
Schwartz said both of them left notes behind saying they love one another. The notes said “they’re in love, they’re sorry that it worked out this way, nobody can do anything to change it,” according to Schwartz.
Schwartz was asked Thursday if she had any inkling that a physical relationship was developing between the two.
“If I did, I probably would’ve strangled him a long time ago,” she told reporters, “you know, the minute I thought so. I trusted him.”
“Usually they hung out with his son, so it wasn’t … it’s not like it was always the two of ’em,” Schwartz added. “He’s got children and they would hang out. It’s not like they were always together by themselves.”
Schwartz said the family feels betrayed by Messer, who she said was like an uncle to Emily.
She said communicating with her daughter about the incident has been difficult as they’re all trying to come to grips with what happened.
“Unfortunately it’s not something that can be done overnight,” Schwartz said.
“It’s bits and pieces and we’re getting her the counselling and whatnot that she needs so that she has the tools and everything that she needs,” Schwartz said, “and, so, once she gets to the point when she can open up about things and talk about things then she can come to us ”
Worthy said additional details of the case will be presented in court at the preliminary examination, set for Nov. 8.
If convicted as charged, Messer faces life in prison. His attorney, Jonathon Jones, says his client does not have a criminal record.