Sawaski bond amended to allow visit to ailing sister

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Don Sawaski is seen in Houghton County Circuit Court with his attorney Karl Numinen in a hearing to amend the trems of his bond. Sawaski will be allowed to travel to Gogebic County to see his ailing sister.

HOUGHTON — The bond of a former Houghton High School athletic director accused of possessing child pornography was amended to allow him to visit his ailing sister in Gogebic County.

Don Sawaski, 72, appeared for a hearing in Houghton County Circuit Court Tuesday. His bond conditions otherwise require him to stay in Houghton County.

Sawaski is charged with two counts of possession of child sexually abusive material, a four-year felony, and using a computer to commit a crime, a seven-year felony. He is scheduled to begin a five-day trial on the charge on June 12.

At the hearing, Sawaski’s attorney, Karl Numinen, expanded his request to allow Sawaski to travel throughout the state. He said looking at court factors that determine bond, such as Sawaski’s record of attending court hearings and lack of prior criminal record.

He also said the chances of a conviction or of jail time was fairly low.

“When you look at that factor, even though these are serious charges, it doesn’t weigh so heavily that the court needs to include this tight geographic restriction,” he said.

Prosecutor Michael Makinen left the original request at Judge Charles Goodman’s discretion. As for the expanded request, he did not want to make an argument without having time to review the file.

“I really wouldn’t at this point (want) to address those issues based on my remembrance of the police report which gave rise to this charge,” he said. “It would not do the defense any good, it might not do the case any good, and I don’t choose to talk about it at this time.”

Goodman agreed Makinen would have no reason to have prepared for Numinen’s new request.

“An attorney, be it a prosecuting attorney or otherwise, is entitled to come to court and know what the issue anticipated to be argued would be,” he said.