Molestation, Battery and Neglect Earns Local Man Enhanced Penalty Under Law Change

By Jeff Neumeyer

August 17, 2012 Updated Aug 17, 2012 at 5:48 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - A lengthy prison term is handed down to a man convicted of heinous crimes involving his ex-girlfriend's two small children.

A recent law change cracking down on child molesters means Michael Combs will do even more time behind bars.

The 27-year old Combs sobbed through much of Friday’s hearing, in which he was sentenced for child neglect, battery, and child molesting.

In 2010, Combs and his sister Anna Hogan were left in charge of Shanna Vorndran's one and two-year old sons, while she went to work.

Vorndran was Combs’ ex-girlfriend at the time.

The one-year old ended up with a fractured leg, while the two-year old had 70 bruises head to toe.

Hogan testified at Combs’ trial that she walked in and witnessed Combs performing a sex act on the older child.

Since 2008, offenders in three kinds of child molesting cases only get one day jail credit for every six days served, rather than the traditional one for one.

It means molesters, in some cases, can do more prison time than a murderer.

" They could conceivably and probably would be more, just because that credit restriction, where you're only getting one day of credit for every 6 days served. So, it's really categorizing these folks completely differently," said Fran Gull, the Allen Superior Court Judge who sentenced Combs.

Hogan got an 8-year suspended sentence for her role in the neglect.

Vorndran got a six-year prison sentence.

Combs figures to spend more than 43 years behind bars, 13 years beyond the norm for the four crimes he was convicted of.

A “credit restricted felon”, such as Combs, is defined under Indiana law as a person who has been convicted of at least one of the following offenses:

(1) Child molesting involving sexual intercourse or deviate sexual conduct, if: (A) the offense is committed by a person at least 21 years of age; and (B) the victim is less than 12 years of age.
(2) Child molesting resulting in serious bodily injury or death.
(3) Murder, if: (A) the person killed the victim while committing or attempting to commit child molesting; (B) the victim was the victim of a sex crime for which the defendant was convicted; or (C) the victim of the murder was known by the person to be a witness against that same person in the prosecution of a sex crime, and the person committed the murder for the purpose of preventing the witness from testifying.

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