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Convicted Rapist Sentenced for Absconding from Trial
January 29, 2024
LANSING – Today, Ramel Lindsay, 35, of Garden City, was sentenced by Judge Paul Bridenstine in the 9th Circuit Court in Kalamazoo County to an additional 9 months’ incarceration for a conviction of Absconding on Bond, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Today’s sentence will be served consecutive to the sentence Lindsay received in December of 12-25 years’ incarceration on two counts of First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) for the 2006 rape of a minor. Lindsay did not return to Court the day the jury delivered its verdict in the trial on the CSC counts. After six days on the run, he was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service.
In 2006, Lindsay raped the 13-year-old, whose mother reported the crime. Interviews and a medical evaluation were conducted, but no charges were brought at the time. The sex assault kit did not produce DNA evidence. The victim suffered severe emotional distress from the attack and the nonexistent prosecution of her attacker, leading her to believe her assault did not matter in the eyes of the community around her. When authorities failed to charge her rapist, the victim instead blamed herself for not having adequately defended herself.
In 2021 the Kalamazoo County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) team contacted the victim to offer a trauma-informed and victim-centered renewed investigation of her rape. The trial began in September of 2023, wherein her mother, brother, best friend, and a childhood camp roommate all testified to the dramatic impact the rape had on her personality and behavior. Trial testimony established that this experience of sexual assault at age 13 transformed the victim from a friendly, outgoing, high-achieving middle school student to an angry and withdrawn high school student who struggled academically and behaviorally. For 15 years, the victim suffered nightmares of her rape and suffered from self-blame. The Kalamazoo County jury convicted Lindsay on both charges of First-Degree CSC resulting in personal injury.
The victim provided a victim impact statement to the Court in both the December and January sentencing hearings, stating in part, “For 17 years I have carried the baggage, the hurt, and the pain of this case. I can’t even begin to describe the emotional damage that has been done as a result. My whole life changed on that night of June 23, 2006. Ramel Lindsay took my entire childhood away from me and got to go on with his life as if nothing ever happened, as if what he did to me didn’t matter, as if I didn’t matter.
“He’s the worst kind of predator because he inflicts traumatic experiences on women and doesn’t give it a second thought. I’m not asking for special treatment or for you to side with me, all I’m asking is for justice. Justice for the 17 years of pain, anger, embarrassment, and the emotional damage I’ve experienced by no choice of my own. I had to endure leaving my home and going to stay at a hotel with my 3 children because he chose not to show up that last day of trial. The entire experience made me feel helpless, scared and victimized all over again. I have not seen any remorse or compassion from Ramel at all.”
Lindsay had been free on conditions of a personal recognizance bond, issued by the District Court, since 2021 and reliably appeared for appearances before the Court for two years. He failed to appear on the day the jury was to deliver its verdict. A warrant was issued for his arrest, and when Garden City Police were unable to locate the now-convicted rapist, U.S. Marshals became involved in the pursuit.
After six days, Lindsay was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service in Detroit and brought into custody at the Kalamazoo County Jail.
In December, Judge Kenneth Barnard sentenced Lindsay to 12-25 years’ incarceration for the two convictions of First-Degree CSC. That same month, Lindsay pled guilty to one count of Absconding on Bond.
“I am thankful for the tireless efforts of the Kalamazoo SAKI unit, the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s office, and the U.S. Marshals Service for their efforts every step of the way to bring this predator to justice,” said Nessel. “This man’s crimes caused deep emotional wounds beyond the physical assault, and I am grateful for the victim’s courage that ultimately allowed him to be held accountable all these years later.”
The prosecution of both the CSC charges and Absconding on Bond were handled by the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which is a joint project of the Attorney General’s Office, the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office, and the YWCA of Kalamazoo.
“Knowing that we were able to help this survivor overcome the trauma of her assault is gratifying,” said Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting. “The work being done by the Department of Attorney General and the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office is extremely important. Holding sex offenders like Ramel Lindsay accountable not only helps the victim, but also keeps our community safe.”
The state’s SAKI project was established in 2016, through a legislative appropriation, to investigate and prosecute sexual assaults related to previously untested sexual assault evidence kits. The SAKI project provides sexual assault victims with the opportunity to have their case re-investigated in a comprehensive, trauma-informed manner. The Kalamazoo SAKI is a collaborative project of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office and the YWCA of Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo SAKI Team is in the process of investigating approximately 225 cold-case sexual assaults that occurred in Kalamazoo County between 1976 and 2015.