Former Osceola County deputy sentenced for child sex crimes, drug charges

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A former Osceola County sheriff’s deputy will serve nine concurrent prison sentences for possessing child sexually abusive material and drug crimes, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Thursday.  

Andrew Wernette appeared Tuesday before Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court.

The Reed City resident pleaded guilty in February. He was sentenced to:

  • Between three years, four months and 25 years for each of two counts of aggravated child sexually abusive activity
  • Three years, four months to 25 years for using a computer to commit a crime
  • Three years, four months to 10 years for child sexually abusive activity-aggravated possession  
  • Eight-and-a-half months to seven years for child sexually abusive material-distributing or promoting 
  • Eight-and-a-half months to four years for larceny in a building
  • Five-and-a-half-months to two years for possessing morphine
  • Five-and-a-half months to two years for possessing OxyContin   
  • Five-and-a-half months to two years for controlled substance-maintaining a drug house

Wernette must also register as a sex offender, state officials said.

“This defendant took advantage of the position he held as a law enforcement officer to obtain various drugs for his personal use and engaged in extremely disturbing acts that exploited minors," Nessel's office said. "We must not stand for this immoral behavior and this office will continue to take action to enforce the law and protect children in this state.”  

A tip to authorities led to a search warrant, which allowed police to find more than 100 images and video of child sex material on his computers and cell phone as well as drugs, according to the release. 

Wernette also "used his position as a deputy in charge of the drug takeback program at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office to procure various medications meant to be disposed of for his own personal use," investigators said Thursday.

Michigan State Police conducted the investigation and arrested Wernette on Sept. 14.