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      Judge sentences Gaylord man to minimum 78 months behind bars

      A 23-year-old man was sentenced to a minimum 78 months behind bars after he acknowledged sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl while he was staying at her home.

      Peter Nowak of Gaylord was sentenced to 78 months to 15 years in jail after he admitted to molesting the young girl.

      He was charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in the third degree.

      According to Daryl P. Vizina, the Cheboygan County Prosecuting Attorney, the original plea deal was for Nowak to serve a minimum of 100 months, but the Judge indicated he believed a more appropriate sentence was for 78.

      "We have had a significant surge recently in sexual assault cases involving minor children," Vizina said. "They are really difficult cases. There are a lot of things we take into consideration when prosecuting the cases."

      "We always analyze the child victim's willingness and ability to testify at a trial. The ultimate objective is to balance the child's and community interest with getting sufficient punishment for the offender."

      Vizina said in this case, it was a "good result" with Nowak getting long-term incarceration.

      He will also be a registered sex offender for life.