MI: Former sheriff and convicted rapist, William Hackel, eligible for parole in April
By Macomb Daily Staff and Wire Reports
December 26, 2002
Edited by Dec 31, 2002 6:16 pm http://wc1.worldcrossing.com/WebX/.1ddb798f
Imprisoned former Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel has lost an appeal for his conviction for raping a female acquaintance at a law enforcement conference.
The Michigan Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision released Monday, affirmed the ex-lawman's convictions and his 3-to-15-year sentence for third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Hackel, spending his second Christmas behind bars at a Kentucky federal prison, is eligible for parole in April.
"That is just sad," said Gerald Medley, a retired sheriff's detective. "I really feel bad for his mother, his wife and his family, especially at this time of year."
Hackel served 24 years in the sheriff's office now held by his son, Mark. He was convicted in 2000 of raping a 25-year-old woman in 1999 in her hotel room at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant.
Hackel, who turned 61 earlier this month, had claimed the two had consensual sex, but the woman insisted she had been sexually assaulted.
In the appeal, Hackel said his attorneys should have been allowed to challenge testimony from the woman's mother that he said indicated that the woman was after money in a civil lawsuit.
The victim, now 27, has filed a pair of civil lawsuits seeking damages above $25,000 for distress and anxiety. Both lawsuits have been dismissed.
Hackel's appeal also said the court should have declared a mistrial when it learned a juror had been offered a job by police involved in the rape investigation, and that his attorneys had provided an inadequate defense.
But the appeals court ruled Michigan law restricting testimony about a complainant’s sexual past could be used to restrict questioning of the woman's mother. It also said that the trial court acted properly when it dismissed the juror with the job offer.
A call to David Griem, Hackel's appeal attorney, was not returned Wednesday.
In the past, Griem had called the case against the former sheriff "an extremely weak one." It is not known whether Hackel will pursue the appeal to a higher court.
Meanwhile, Hackel continues to remain a popular figure among his friends and colleagues in Macomb County. They've held fund-raisers to help him pay an estimated $100,000 in legal bills.
"No one will ever make me believe Bill raped that woman," said Medley, who has known Hackel since both were teen-agers.
Victim's name is broadcast by mistake
May 16, 2000
Detroit Free Press She dreaded the sentencing of her rapist, former Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel, because it would dredge up the nightmare of the Oct. 11 attack. But on Monday, her dread took on new dimensions when Isabella County Circuit Judge Paul Chamberlain addressed her by name several times before sentencing Hackel to 3 to 15 years in prison. In a split second, her name -- which the media had concealed for months -- was broadcast all over the state during live coverage of the hearing. ...
Ex-sheriff gets 3 to 15 years in rape conviction
The Toledo Blade
Tuesday, May 16, 2000
Mount Pleasant, Mich. [AP] - A judge yesterday ordered former Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel to serve three to 15 years in prison for sexually attacking a woman who through sobs said the assault sentenced her to an unforgettable trauma. "I only wish that my life worked like a book, because if it did, I would just tear it up and throw this chapter away. But you see I can't," the woman in quaking voice told an Isabella County judge. Chief Judge Paul Chamberlain ordered Hackel, 58, to get counseling while serving the concurrent prison terms on two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The judge called the punishment lenient but mindful of the 25-year-old woman Hackel was convicted of attacking at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort last October during the Michigan Sheriff's Association convention. "We are supposed to be the leaders, and frankly, you are responsible for why we are all here today," Judge Chamberlain told Hackel. "You made the choice. You went to a hotel room witha woman [less] than half your age; you went as a sheriff. "It demanded the highest of standars, and you didn't meet those standards." Moments earlier, Hackel tearfully asked the judge for leniency, imploring "please do not waste my life by putting me behind bars for a long time. I apologize to everyone, and I mean everyone." His voice trembled as he stood in a blue inmate uniform, Hackel asked to "return to my wife and family as soon as possible," lamenting that "yesterday was Mother's Day, and it was the first time in 58 years that I've not given my mother a hug on Mother's Day." "Today is my son Mark's birthday. I apologize to him to have to look at his father on his birthday being sentenced to prison." The judge said he weighed Hackel's "outstanding record, a long record" of service with the impact of actions by a man was seeking his seventh term as sheriff. "How do I deter others if I give you a light sentence because you've been a consummater" law enforcer, the judge asked. "Does that not open the door for anyone who has an outstanding public record to do as they please?"
Ex-Sheriff sentenced to prison for rape
Ludington Daily News
Tuesday, May 16, 2000
Mount Pleasant, Mich [AP] - Former Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel is behind bars today, sentenced to three to 15 years in prison for raping a woman at a sheriff's convention. Chamberlain also ordered Hackel, 58, to get psychological and sexual abuse counseling while serving the concurrent prison terms on two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Later Monday, Chamberlain refused defense requests that Hackel be allowed to be freed on bond pending appeal of his conviction.
Hackel's victim finds life torn apart She'll testify to trauma at sentencing Monday
May 13, 2000
Detroit Free Press She doesn't sleep much anymore. And when she does, the face of her rapist, former Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel, haunts her dreams. "I see his face every time I close my eyes," said the 26-year-old Lansing-area woman. The Free Press generally does not identify rape victims. "I don't want to sleep because I keep reliving it," she said. The woman said her life has changed dramatically since Oct. 11, when ...
How a judge sees William Hackel - as a respected law enforcement official or a man who violated the law he pledged to uphold - could determine how the former Macomb County sheriff is sentenced, legal experts say.
An Isabella County jury convicted Hackel, 58, April 27 of two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
He was accused of raping a female acquaintance Oct. 11 at a sheriffs convention at a tribal casino. Hackel has said the sex was consensual.
Chief Circuit Judge Paul Chamberlain is scheduled to sentence Hackel on May 15.
Meanwhile, Hackel's attorney, James Howarth, planned to ask the judge to consider looking into possible jury tampering, and to reinstate bond for Hackel so he can get out of jail until his sentencing.
Howarth said the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police, who investigated Hackel for rape, last week offered a juror a job as a dispatcher. The juror was dismissed before deliberations began because of the allegations.
If Chamberlain determines that the jury was tainted, he could order a new trial, Howarth said.
The 14-member jury was reduced to 12 before deliberations began.
Sheriff prosecuted after failing lie detector test
The Argus Press
Mon., May 8, 2000
Mount Pleasant, Mich. [AP] - Former Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel failed a lie detector test two weeks before he was charged with raping a 25-year-old woman at a sheriff's convention. The FBI polygraph exam showed Hackel failed two key questions: "Did you force [the victim] to have sex with you on Oct. 11th?" and "Did [the victim] ever indicate to you that she wanted you to stop having sex with her?" Hackel answered no to both questions, according to the Detroit News, which obtained results of the test with a Freedom of Information Act Request. "It is the opinion of the examiner that the recorded responses ... are indicative of deception," lie detector examiner Samuel J. Ruffino wrote in his report. Hackel was given the hour-long test at the FBI headquarters in Detroit on Nov. 2, 1999. Hackel, 58, was convicted April 27 by an Isabella County jury of two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. A message was left early Monday seeking comment from Hackel lawyer James Howarth. Polygraph test results are inadmissible as evidence in court, but prosecutors use them when credibility is a key factor, said Steven Kaplan, an assistant Macomb County prosecutor with 14 years experience. "It's an important tool in a case where it's one-on-one," Kaplain said. "In cases where the evident is not strong, prosecutors will use polygraphs to determine whether they will charge. It's a tool for the prosecutor in determining the validity of the charges. Hackel, who was sheriff for 23 years, faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced May 15.
Sheriff prosecuted for rape after lie detector failure
Ludington Daily News
Monday, May 8, 2000
Mount Pleasant, Mich. [AP] - Former Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel failed a lie detector test two weeks before he was charged with raping a 25-year-old woman at a sheriff's convention. The FBI polygraph exam showed Hackel failed two key questions: "Did you force [the victim] to have sex with you on Oct. 11th?" and "Did [the victim] ever indicate to you that she wanted you to stop having sex with her?" Hackel answered no to both questions, according to the Detroit News, which obtained results of the test with a Freedom of Information Act Request. "It is the opinion of the examiner that the recorded responses ... are indicative of deception," lie detector examiner Samuel J. Ruffino wrote in his report. Hackel was given the hour-long test at the FBI headquarters in Detroit on Nov. 2, 1999. Hackel, 58, was convicted April 27 by an Isabella County jury of two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. A message was left early Monday seeking comment from Hackel lawyer James Howarth. Polygraph test results are inadmissible as evidence in court, but prosecutors use them when credibility is a key factor, said Steven Kaplan, an assistant Macomb County prosecutor with 14 years experience. "It's an important tool in a case where it's one-on-one," Kaplain said. "In cases where the evident is not strong, prosecutors will use polygraphs to determine whether they will charge. It's a tool for the prosecutor in determining the validity of the charges."
On Thursday, April 27th, 2000, a Michigan jury of six men and six women found high-powered Macomb County Sheriff William H. Hackel guilty of two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, or date rape, as it is commonly referred to in the feminist tradition. Prisoner number 000080998, of Cell "C" in the Isabella County Jail, will now occupy a 10-by-12 foot cell, much like those that he has made famous during his 24-year tenure as Macomb County Sheriff, where the local lock-up was termed the "Hackel Hotel." No one can deny that the married William Hackel erred when he met up with an awestruck young lady at a meeting of the Michigan Sheriffs' Association in October of last year, and willingly accompanied her to her hotel room at her suggestion. The events that followed ended a career for the respected and dedicated lawman and elected official. At the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, a 25-year-old employee of the Michigan Sheriffs' Association, who had just met Mr. Hackel for the first time, suggested that they have lunch--via room service--in her hotel room, where she suggested they "kick back and relax." Once there, as the story goes, the unnamed woman placed her head on his chest and remarked about the excessive rate of his heartbeat, prompting a kissing and petting session, which was followed by the act of sexual intercourse. According to his testimony, the sex was purely consensual. According to hers, she said no. Hence, the beginning of another rape trial where the jury is expected to render a decision on the basis of "he said-she said." A definition of rape consistent with most North American statutes is "unwanted sexual penetration perpetrated by force, threat of harm, or mental or physical inability to give consent." A despicable crime that many believe deserves the punishment of castration in the most violent cases, rape has been resonantly politicized by a modern feminist movement of male-hating fanatics, especially since the increase in reported rapes on college campuses during the 1980s. It was at this time that feminist rhetoric began its assault on male-female relationships by looking at sexual relations gone bad in terms of trying to sort through various degrees and types of rape and "rape," by trying to define how one gives or does not give consent. What has followed is twenty years of what George Gilder--in his book Men and Marriage-has called feminists "palavering endlessly" about rape.
The palavering in regards to the William Hackel rape case has been scathing, and most of the chinwag has been biased in favor of the typical sentiment: if the woman says it was rape, it must be rape. However, Sheriff Hackel's case is not helped by the fact that he is a fifty-something white male in a position of power. In fact, even the local media has referred to the verdict as "a lesson about rape for men in power." The unnamed woman--the so-called victim--was caught on security cameras (placed in the hallway of the hotel) calmly escorting Sheriff Hackel to her room. Once in her room, she proceeded to sit next to him on the bed, and pulled barrettes and bobby pins out of her hair in the process of letting her hair down. To most reasonable people, this behavior represents a sexual invitation, or at least an attempt to get "very comfortable" with the man whose company she coveted. At the least, one can be led to believe that this behavior was hardly a response to an act of coercion. But the woman says she did not want, nor intend to have sex with William Hackel that day. The woman testified that, as the Sheriff laid her down on the bed and began to undress her, she decided not to resist him out of fear that she was "turning him on even more." Less than an hour-and-fifteen minutes later, the video shows Sheriff Hackel calmly leaving her room. He then dined with his wife, and then checked out several hours later. None of the video footage of the Sheriff arriving at the hotel room or leaving showed any signs of force, or fear of wrongdoing on his part. There were several unusual elements of testimony brought to light during the trial. One slice of testimony revealed that the woman had said after the attack that she was repulsed by the smell of Hackel and his cologne on her hands. Yet Hackel and his wife testified that he had not worn cologne in five years, due to an asthmatic condition. Also, the woman's (former) boyfriend testified that she promised to buy him a snowmobile, or other items, if she got one million dollars from suing the Sheriff, as she expected that she would do. Sounds more like a woman with a mission if you ask me. And what was that mission? Was it a mission to make a man pay for a disappointing sexual experience that represented nothing more than lust on his part? Or was it a mission of hate; hate for a man of position and power who valued the woman no further than reaping the benefits of her willingness to provide him with her bodily pleasures? It was as if the unnamed woman expected a more romantic interlude; one that played on her feminine needs of love, romance, partnership, and possibly, a relationship. Well, William Hackel did not offer the woman a relationship. Nor did he offer her flowers, a love story, or even the prospects of good and unselfish sex. In fact, he didn't even offer to take her out to a nice dinner. All he did offer was to buy her a sandwich from room service after the encounter. Hardly what any woman would hope to get from a sexual encounter with such a man as Mr. Hackel. The feminist politicization of rape has led society to buy into the belief that rape, or date rape as is the case here, can be so loosely defined that no man could ever possibly know the boundaries of what constitutes "legal" sex unless he can discover the meaning of female logic and its inner workings, something that no man other than maybe Alan Alda has ever claimed to know. The merits of "Yes" and "Maybe" and "No" as being the true meaning of a woman's intentions toward a sexual encounter have been debated from an ethical standpoint as well as a legal one. Women don't even know what these words mean, so how could one expect a man to figure it out? Just never forget that post coital regret can never fall under the legal definition of rape. But a good attorney, and a young, pretty, crying face on the stand can make a jury forget legal definitions and rule on the basis of emotion. The local news channels aired exclusive interviews with the woman, her face blurred to protect her identity, and not one single piece of the emotional petition on her part seemed even the slightest bit genuine. What I saw was a woman emotionally scarred by regret, and her own dislike of herself. The facts here tell us that a woman met up with a man whom she admired and by whom she was smitten. She then invited him up to her hotel room, just the two of them alone. She then sat next to him on the bed, which made the situation even cozier for what was to come next. The fact that a woman such as myself could have little or no empathy for this woman should not be surprising. If the unnamed woman invited sex in her room, and later cried foul because she regretted her actions, how can she expect the compassion that is usually reserved for the real victims of violent rape? William Hackel is guilty. Guilty of cheating on his wife, sexual promiscuity, and an overall stupidity for putting his career at risk for the sake of satisfying a sexual urge. But did his lack of good judgement and proper discretion deserve a vilification from the community which he served for so long, and does it deserve the destruction of a career, and a 15-year prison sentence in the name of defending the honor of a smitten woman disappointed by her sexual experience? Does his improper behavior with the young lady who took him up to her room mean that he is a threat to society, or to other women as a sexual predator? Hardly. Sheriff William Hackel was found guilty of rape by a jury of individuals who were turned off by what they saw as his apparent lack of morality, their disgust of his misguided, penile-controlled behavior, and his lack of faithfulness to his wife. None of these are crimes, however. Clearly, this was just another of the many assaults on men, and male sexual behavior in general. After all, current victim-minded logic has everyone believing that it would be politically incorrect to believe the male side of the story in any date rape case. If she says it's rape, then it's rape. On this as on every other question, count me as politically incorrect. Karen De Coster is a politically incorrect CPA, and an MA student in economics at Walsh College in Michigan. Panel to pick sheriff soon Macomb County to get a law enforcer who will finish Hackel's term
May 5, 2000
Detroit Free Press
The three-member panel charged with replacing former Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel voted Thursday to make a selection on May 24. Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga, County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh and Chief Probate Judge Pamela Gilbert O'Sullivan said Sabaugh's office will accept applications for acting sheriff until 9 a.m. May 18. Applicants must submit in writing their plans for the department, a resume, their qualifications and long- and short-term goals ...
ACTING SHERIFF LOOKS AHEAD, SEEKS QUIET AFTER SCANDAL
May 4, 2000
Detroit Free Press
Less than 24 hours after William Hackel was convicted of rape, his longtime partner, friend and successor as Macomb County sheriff wasted little time having Hackel's name removed from all public buildings. "People might have thought it was cruel, but you've got to go forward," Macomb County Acting Sheriff Ronald Tuscany said Wednesday, making his first public statements since Hackel entered the Isabella County Jail in Mt. Pleasant last ...
HOPEFULS FALL IN LINE TO FILL SHERIFF'S POST 2000 RACE FIRST SINCE '76 WITH NO HACKEL
April 28, 2000
Detroit Free Press
As one sheriff's career dissolves in disgrace as a convicted rapist, another's is about to dawn. At least eight Macomb County sheriff hopefuls have surfaced as former Sheriff William Hackel, unbeatable since 1976, awaits sentencing on two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The list doesn't include any political heavyweights, yet. But now that Hackel has been convicted, more contenders are likely. "It is going to be a ...
In October 1999, Macomb County Sheriff William Hackel was investigated for raping an acquaintance during a Michigan law enforcement convention. Sheriff Hackel maintained that the sex was consensual.
In November 1999, Sheriff William Hackel was charged with rape, after he failed a polygraph exam.
During his trial in April 2000, Sheriff Hackel falsely maintained that the sex had been consensual. The jury convicted Hackel of rape.
In May 2000, Sheriff Hackel was sentenced to at least 3 years in prison for the October 1999 rape. He served 5 years and was released in 2005.
In June 2000, Sheriff Hackel filed an appeal on his rape conviction...He was still falsely claiming that the sex had been consensual. Hackel's appeal was denied.
In 2007, the Detroit US Federal Court turned down Sheriff Hackel's request for a new trial on his rape conviction. Hackel was still maintaining that the sex had been consensual.
Sheriff William Hackel has been throwing the words "consensual sex" around for years. In 1991, when male jail inmates broke into the female inmate section of the jail, the male inmates did not rape the women: "There's no question that they had sex," Hackel said, "It was consensual".
Film seizure constitutional
June 14, 2001 Detroit [AP] - A St. Clair County judge acted properly in seizing film and denying Times Herald photographers access to jurors, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled. The ruling released Wednesday stems from St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Peter Deegan's order on May 12, 2000, barring photographs of jurors leaving the highly publicized rape trial of former Port Huron Mayor Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman. Deegan asked that photographers allow jurors to leave the court premises before approaching them. Deegan contended the jurors were entitled to privacy because they had been compelled by the court to appear. All 12 jurors declined to meet with the media after the trial. Mark Rummel and Tony Pitts, photographers for the Times Herald of Port Huron were arrested outside the St. Clair County Courthouse on May 12 and their film was seized as they tried to take photographs in the aftermath of Ackerman's trial. The Times Herald said the judge's limits on photographing the jurors did not include necessary time and geographic boundaries. In a 3-0 decision, Court of Appeals judges Richard A. Bandstra, Richard Allen Griffin, and Jeffrey G. Collins ruled the order was not overboard. The court said such restrictions are permissible provided they are narrowly tailored to serve a government interest and there are alternative channels of communication. Since the media had an opportunity to view jurors during the trial and the jurors' names were publicized, the appeals court ruled the media's access was not impeded. "The order was adequately tailored to satisfy the limited purposed of maintaining the decorum of the court and the temporary privacy of the jurors," the order stated. "Jurors are entitled to privacy and to protection against harassment even after completing their service." Times Herald executive editor Denise Richter said she was disappointed, but not surprised, by the court's decision. She wasn't sure what additional steps the paper might take. "We are still examining our options to see where we'll take the case next," Ritcher said. Bill Fealko, who argued the case on behalf of the prosecutor's office, said he was pleased with the decision. "To me, it's been a pretty straightforward issue," Fealko said. "This is something the court compels citizens to do. Jurors do have a right to leave a courthouse after their service without being denied some breathing space. I would hope that this would be the final resolution to the matter." The newspaper also had argued that the arrests and seizure of film without an hearing violated the photographers' First Amendment due process rights and the First Amendment right of freedom of the press. But the appeals court sided with Deegan, saying the seisure of the film was justified because "the photographs were obtained unlawfully in a deliberate violation of a rule of court."
Retrial of former mayor resumes
May 09, 2000 Port Huron, Mich. [AP] - A jury in the retrial of the city's former mayor will have to weigh some inconsistancies in the testimonies of the girls he is accused of molesting, experts say. Two of the three girls who accuse Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman of molesting them testified on Friday. The third girl, a 10-year-old, was expected to testify today. Ackerman is being retried on 10 counts of felony child molestation, which include five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, after a jury could not reach a verdict last October. That jury did convict Ackerman of nine counts of indecent exposure. Both in the original trial and in Friday's testimony, parts of the girls' stories changed from their earlier statements and differed from each other's accounts.
Damaging testimony given against ex-Port Huron mayor
Ludington Daily News
May 06, 2000
Port Huron, Mich [AP] - A 20-year-old woman testified that Port Huron's former mayor father her child while he and his wife were helping her kick a drug habit at the counseling center he founded. The Port Huron woman was one of 12 witnesses to testify Thursday at Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman's trial on 10 counts of felony child molestation. The trial continued Friday before St. Clair County Circuit Judge Peter Deegan. Ackerman is being retried on the charges, which include five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, after a jury could not reach a verdict last October. That jury did convict the former mayor of nine counts of indecent exposure; since then, he has served a one-year sentence in the Macomb County Jail. The 20-year-old woman testified that the son she bore in May 1999 was the result of a sexual relationship she and Ackerman had mainly at Clear Choices, the youth center he founded in 1995. "I was very vulnerable at this time in my life and let others make decisions for me," she said. "I was just coming off drugs, and I don't know that I had full mental capacity."
Retrial under way for former mayor
Man denies touching young girls
May 03, 2000
Port Huron, Mich. [AP] - Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman, sans the long hair and beard he wore as mayor, stood silent in court yesterday as jury selection began in his retrial on sex charges involving three young girls.
Mr. Ackerman faces 10 counts of sexual misconduct, including five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Mr. Ackerman's court-appointed attorney, Sharon Parrish, said she expects Mr. Ackerman will again take the stand to defend himself against the charges.
Mr. Ackerman faces three second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges and two counts of child sexually abusive activity. The charges involve a then-8-year-old and then-12-year-old girls.
In October, Mr. Ackerman was found guilty of nine counts of indecent exposure and was sentenced to one year in jail. Mr. Ackerman is appealing the indecent exposure convictions.
Mr. Ackerman resigned as mayor in April 1999, a day after his arrest. Police and prosecutors said he molested girls Clear Choices, a defunct youth center he founded, between August, 1998, and March 1999.
During his first trial, Mr. Ackerman said he had sexual liaisons with teens as young as 17 and 18 at the center, but denied he touched young girls.
2nd trial scheduled for ex-Michigan mayor
October 30, 1999
Port Huron, Mich. - A former mayor will be tried again in February on at least some of the felony counts that jurors could not reach verdicts on as they convicted him of exposing himself to nine underage girls.
The second trial of Gerald "Ajax" Ackerman is to begin Feb. 23, St. Clair County Circuit Court officials said yesterday.
Ackerman was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail after jurors convicted him of nine counts of indecent exposure. Jurors couldn't reach verdicts on eight counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, six counts of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and two counts of felony child sexually abusive activity.