HER MOM’S BOYFRIEND SEXUALLY ABUSED HER FOR YEARS. HER MOM KNEW, BUT DID NOTHING TO STOP IT
Sex Offenders and Others Committing Random Sex Crimes, Family Members, Sex Offenders and Others In Positions Of Trust
Nov. 1, 2018
Lansing State Journal
LANSING — The sexual abuse started when she was 6. Her mom knew. Her grandmother knew. Her grandfather suspected. Her mom’s coworkers, friends and supervisor knew, records show. Still, it continued for years.
Just before the girl’s ninth birthday, someone called Child Protective Services to report that her mother’s boyfriend, Ryan Cooper, had sexually abused the girl. Three months later, in November 2012, CPS took the girl and her siblings away from their mother, Sabrina Giller.
It would take another five years for criminal charges to be filed. Justice, or as much justice as the young girl could get, wouldn’t come until 2018. She’s been out of the abusive home for almost six years now, but it haunts every aspect of her life, her father said in court.
“She has filled her heart with self-loathing, sadness and anger where there should be love, happiness and joy,” her father said at Cooper’s sentencing hearing in April. Cooper was sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison. “(She) will have to deal with what happened to her as a small, helpless child for the rest of her life, never being free from the past that haunts her.”
Giller pleaded guilty to abusing her daughter and neglecting to report the abuse. She was sentenced to 4½ to 10 years in prison. Cooper’s brother, Jordan Cooper, also was charged with sexually abusing Giller’s daughter. His case is still pending. Giller had a hearing Wednesday to attempt to withdraw her guilty plea. Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina rejected her request. "I was so disturbed by all three cases I almost didn't take any plea," Aquilina said Wednesday. "It was a valid plea and a valid sentence."
The first time police investigated the family, no charges were filed. Lansing Police Detective Vicki Nevins applied for charges in 2012, she testified at a preliminary hearing. However, prosecutors in then-Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings’ office did not take on the case. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cheltenham said Wednesday all three cases were reviewed at that time, and no charges were issued. A previous official in the prosecutor's office said in August no record of the denial of charges exists.
Nevins testified that she “didn’t understand why” charges weren’t filed. The case began with a call to CPS. When Nevins first got involved, Giller’s daughter, then 9, refused to talk about the “bad” things Ryan Cooper, 36, did.
But as she started to open up, she told investigators Ryan Cooper had touched her “number one spot,” which she later said was her backside. When pressed for details about the incident, she became hysterical, according to CPS reports. She later said she was scared to talk to police at that time.
In 2016, just before she retired, Nevins re-interviewed the girl and resubmitted the case for charges late that year. This time, the prosecutor's office, which by then was led by current Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon, accepted them. Giller was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree child abuse and accosting a child in February 2017.
Ryan Cooper was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of accosting a child. Jordan Cooper was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct. Jordan Cooper’s charges are still pending in Ingham County. Jordan Cooper is also facing charges alleging he sexually abused another girl. Both cases are pending in Ingham County Circuit Court.