Jury Chooses Maximum Penalty for Disbarred Attorney, But Judge Delays Sentencing Til Monday

McKINNEY -- A Collin County jury decided Friday on the maximum sentence of 20 years for a disbarred attorney who sexually assaulted a teenage girl seeking legal help five years ago.But County Court at Law Judge Barnett Walker said he wanted to listen to the hundreds of jail phone calls admitted into evidence but not aired during the trial before deciding whether the three 20-year sentences for Michael Harssema should be served at the same time or stacked one after the other."Your perversion runs so deep that you couldn't even wait two days," the judge said in describing how Harssema sexually assaulted the teen in this case and allegedly assaulted another one in a case pending in Dallas shortly after meeting them. Equally unforgiveable, the judge said, was that Harssema told the teenage victims of sex trafficking that they could be "sold like cattle to the cartels." Harssema led the girls to trust him because he was "the one person standing between them and a life of absolute horror," the judge said. Harssema, 45, was convicted earlier in the week on one count of sexual assault of a child and two counts of indecency by contact.  Continue reading...

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