BRANCH COUNTY - A Coldwater man will serve 7-30 years in prison for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl for months in 2019.
Matthew Albert, 38, was sentenced in Judge Bill O'Grady's Branch County's 15th Circuit Court room this week after pleading no contest to second degree criminal sexual conduct and being a habitual offender.
The girl initially reported the assault to a parent, but the parent didn't find the story credible. Two years later, Child Protective Services received the information, and Coldwater Police began an investigation.
Albert originally denied any wrongdoing, but eventually admitted to molesting the girl; he denied that anything else happened.
The now 17-year-old girl said the forced abuse took place over four or five months on more than 10 occasions.
Victim's advocate Denise Mack read from a letter written by the girl and her family: "Everything he did, he has put our entire family through tremendous anguish. He completely destroyed her world and turned her into a shell of her former self. It is something no child should ever have to go through."
The family wrote the court, "He has many felonies, his crimes were all dangerous, and threatening to hurt others. He's a danger to society. And with him being out in the world, it makes us fearful of who he will hurt next. It isn't a matter of if he will do it again."
Albert has an extensive criminal record, with convictions ranging from drug charges in 2009 to assault with a deadly weapon in 2013 to domestic assault in 2014.
Albert ended up back in Branch County in 2014. In August of that year, Albert was chased at over 100 mph, driving erratically for 10 miles; later it was determined he was over the legal limit of alcohol intoxication. After failing to complete substance abuse treatment and ignoring his probation officer, O'Grady violated his probation and sentenced him to 2-5 years for felony drunk driving and fleeing and eluding police.
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O'Grady ordered him to register as a sex offender and comply with those restrictions once paroled; the earliest date for that would be 2029.
- Contact Don Reid: dReid@Gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DReidTDR.
This article originally appeared on Coldwater Daily Reporter: Coldwater man gets 7 years in prison for abusing teen girl