Court employee cleared of rape

A 36th District Court employee accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met at the courthouse was found not guilty Tuesday after a judge ruled there was a lack of evidence in the case.

During the second day of the jury trial in Wayne County Circuit Court, visiting Judge Leonard Townsend dismissed two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of kidnapping against Sedric Hemphill, 47, of Detroit. The ruling followed a motion by Hemphill's attorney, James Galen Jr., for a directed verdict of not guilty.

Hemphill, a court clerk, was arrested in May after a 32-year-old woman told police she was lured to his apartment and raped. Galen argued Tuesday that Hemphill's accuser, Kimree Beckem, changed her story during cross-examination, admitting that she willingly entered the man's bedroom and took off her own clothes.

Galen said he expects his client, who was on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case, to be reinstated immediately. Galen said Hemphill also plans to sue Beckem for malicious prosecution, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, slander, and libel.

If convicted of the crimes, Hemphill would have faced up to life in prison.