LIMA TOWNSHIP, MI — Brooke Lajiness, 38, a married mother of two, has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual misconduct involving a pair of teenage boys.
Last summer, Lajiness established relationships with the boys, then aged 14 and 15, by sending them nude photographs of herself in the bathtub and while performing sexual acts. After that so-called “grooming” period, Lajiness admitted she would drive to the teens’ homes late at night to engage in sex with them in her car.
Addressing the court at her sentencing, Lajiness fought back tears and said, “This has been the biggest regret of my life. My family means everything to me, and I’ve caused them great pain for these regretful choices I have made.”
One victim’s mother wrote an impact statement that was read in court in which she declared:
“Your actions will affect my son and his relationships with others for the rest of his life. The guys at school pick on him and say it’s cool that he had sex with a mom. My son shared with me that the guys at school have no idea what he’s been going through and how he struggles. He has had to stay strong in front of them.”
The parents of the victims also insisted that Lajiness be treated the same way a man would be if he were convicted of preying on and sexually abusing teenage girls.
David I. Goldstein, Lajiness’s attorney, argued against that idea, telling the press:
“To say this should be treated exactly the same if she were a man dealing with young girls is not true. I think society recognizes that men and women deal with sex and sexuality much differently, both as adults and as children.”
Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor John Vella said Lajiness initially insisted to detectives that that “sex with the victim is not something she wanted to do, but she was helping him.”
Vella also pointed out that both Lajiness and her husband, who has stood by her and was present at the sentencing, penned letters to the judge in which they shifted blame to the victims, as well as the defendant’s “insomnia medication.”
The prosecution asked for the maximum sentence of 15 years. Judge David Swartz instead took Lajiness’s mental-health issues and previously clean criminal record into consideration and gave her about one-third of that term.
Main photos: Brooke Lajiness mug shot [Michigan Department of Corrections]