Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Michigan Young Republican pleads guilty in sex case
Posted by Jim Nichols July 24, 2007 17:26PM
The former head of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans admitted today that he sexually abused a colleague during a national convention here last summer.
Michael Flory, a 32-year-old attorney from Jackson, Mich., pleaded guilty to sexual battery on the day he was to stand trial for rape.
The teary-eyed college student he overpowered in a downtown hotel room gasped and dabbed her eyes as Flory replied to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Peter Corrigan's question, "Are you indeed guilty?"
"Sure - yeah," Flory said.
Corrigan set sentencing for Sept. 13. Flory faces a sentence that ranges from probation to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Flory is also a licensed insurance broker; Corrigan warned him that the guilty plea places both professional licenses in jeopardy of revocation.
Assistant County Prosecutor Carol Skutnik said Flory's lawyers, Henry Hilow and Bill McGinty, surprised her with a plea offer as trial witnesses from several states were arriving to testify.
The plea bargain, she said, doesn't include any suggestion of leniency, and the state will seek incarceration. She also said she hopes to present evidence of several "other incidents of sexual misconduct" in which Flory took advantage of vulnerable young women.
The victim, who is 22, declined to speak after Flory's guilty plea.
She and some supporters lamented when the incident became public last winter that Flory and his followers within the Republican organization had been smearing her reputation in retaliation for accusing Flory of rape. Skutnik said she found that to be true.
"People were using every opportunity to try to trash her, on Web sites or whatever," the prosecutor said. "He's been running around telling everybody what a piece of trash she is, so she was very happy to see him plead guilty."
The defense can say little until sentencing, Hilow said.
"He would just like to put this in the past for everybody," the defense attorney said.
Flory gained some notoriety at age 18 when he gave a televised speech to the Republican National Convention in the Houston Astrodome in 1992. The Michigan Young Republicans' Web site once hailed him as "one of the rising stars of GOP politics in America" and declared that "Mike has earned a great name for himself."
Flory, the victim and other members of Michigan's delegation to the national Young Republicans convention were partying in the Warehouse District last July 6, police and prosecutors said. The victim became so intoxicated that she headed back to her hotel room. Flory escorted her.But when she lay down to sleep, he "violently forced several sex acts upon her," Skutnik said.