Deal sets dentist free early

Posted at 7:10 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 08:14:52-04

"An injustice," that's what victim Ryan Lewis's friends and family consider the plea deal former dentist Wendell Racette received Tuesday.

As soon as the Judge made his ruling, Lewis bolted and his supporters grabbed signs and stood their ground outside the courtroom.

In court, Lewis made his statement in the third person.

"The new Ryan has a bright future ahead of him and he only has one thing to say, Wendall I ain't through with you yet," he said as he walked back to his seat.

Racette was originally supposed to be in prison until 2027; but, he was let out after 3.5 years because the Court of Appeals overturned the 2nd trial.

Ingham County Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Lisa McCormick, explained, "The first trial was hung and so we, on the second trial, put forth more evidence in front of the jury, the court determined that was too much evidence."

She told Fox 47 News it would be too tough to get a conviction in a 3rd trial with eyewitness testimony that's more than 20-years-old. So, the team decided on a plea deal allowing Racette to not serve anymore prison time if he pleaded guilty to a felony child abuse charge, assuring he would never be a dentist again.

"The last thing we wanted to be left with was a 'not guilty' and we wanted some affirmation that he did this to the victim in this case," McCormick said. "We have spoken to them and we feel that we have done everything we can."

But, Lewis was hoping for more justice.

"Your honor, I cannot say that I have received that for which I had originally sought. What I am left is a profound understanding of what it is I must do," he said. "I say this to every victim. You're not alone. I am with you. And we will win."

Racette's attorney, Shannon Smith, declined to comment.

Ingham County now has a children's assessment center where kids who have been sexually abused can feel comfortable coming forward and know they're speaking with the right people.

Prosecutors told Fox 47 News they hope that will make future sexual abuse cases easier to take to court.