December 15, 2015, Canton, MI – Joseph A. Apato, 41-years old from Sterling Heights, was arraigned last Friday in 35th District Court on the following charges:
• Two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree (Person under 13 years of age); a felony punishable by life or any term of years, mandatory minimum of 25 years
• One count of Child Sexually Abusive Activity; a 20-year felony
• One count of Computer Internet use for Communication with Another to Commit Crime; a 20-year felony
• Two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree (Person under 13 years of age); a 15-year felony
• One count of Accosting Children for Immoral Purposes; a 4-year felony
The original report received in November by the Canton Police Department was for a missing minor. An in-depth investigation ensured leading to the charges against Apato. The victim allegedly met the suspect on a social media website.
Apato pled not guilty and bond was set at $500,000. His preliminary exam is scheduled for December 28, 2015, at 35th District Court, 660 Plymouth Road, in Plymouth.
The Canton Police Department is taking this opportunity to encourage parents to stay vigilant with their children and internet safety. Conversations, education and monitoring are all recommended methods to help prevent children from becoming involved in the dangers of social media.