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Man found guilty

An Ottawa County man was found guilty of 16 counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct following a jury trial that concluded last week.

Officials from St. Joseph County Circuit Court said James Zacharko  II, 46, of Zeeland, was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old St. Joseph County girl over a four-month period in 2012.

Over the course of the three-day trial that ended Thursday, Zacharko’s attorney said his client pleaded not guilty and that there was no DNA evidence, photographs or eyewitnesses to verify he and the teen had a sexual relationship.

Zacharko met the teen through a relationship he previously had with an adult related to her. Prosecutor John McDonough, however, indicated Zacharko and the victim were involved in a physical relationship from May to September 2012.

A jury found Zacharko guilty on 16 of 23 counts.

Zacharko faces up to 15 years in prison.

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