Former Hillsdale Co. sheriff's deputy charged with misconduct for alleged inappropriate relationship

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A former Hillsdale County Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with misconduct in office following allegations he exploited his position as a law enforcement officer to coerce a female suspect into a sexual relationship, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday.

Todd Barkley, 46, of Brownstown Township, is charged with two counts of misconduct in office, which are five-year felonies, her office said in a statement.

He was arraigned Tuesday by 12th District Court Judge Michael Klaeren in Jackson County since Hillsdale officials recused themselves, according to the release.

It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether Barkley had an attorney.

Barkley allegedly arranged for the woman to be treated for a substance use disorder at a rehabilitation center in Fulton, Kentucky, then used his badge to take her out to have sex, according to the release.

He is also being investigated by law enforcement in Kentucky, Nessel's office said.    

“Law enforcement officers that abuse their authority and violate the public’s trust must be held accountable,” the attorney general said in a statement. “The Department of Attorney General is a haven for those who have been exploited or victimized, and I encourage those with similar stories to come forward and report their experiences.” 

Reached Wednesday, Hillsdale County Sheriff Scott Hodshire said Barkley "was suspended with pay when we first heard about these allegations in August of 2021. Mr. Barkley failed to report to our Office for an interview in September therefore resulting in his termination."

An investigation was handled by a team through the Michigan Sheriff’s Association, and the findings were turned over to the Attorney General’s Office, he said.

Barkley is due back in court via Zoom at 2 p.m. July 8 for a probable cause conference.