Ingham prosecutor accused of engaging prostitutes
Lansing — Longtime Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings was arrested early Monday and charged with 15 criminal counts, including engaging with prostitutes, pandering and willful neglect of duty.
Attorney General Bill Schuette confirmed the charges in a Monday afternoon press conference, outlining the results of a joint probe by his office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.
Dunnings allegedly paid to have sex with prostitutes hundreds of times between 2010 and 2015. He is also accused of convincing one woman to become a prostitute, prompting a charge of pandering, a felony which can result in up to 20 years in prison.
“It turns your stomach when an officer of the law, who took an oath to enforce the law and report crimes, is engaging in criminal activities himself,” Schuette said. “He never tried to stop it.”
Dunnings also faces 10 misdemeanor counts of engaging the services of prostitution and four misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty by an elected official. His brother, Lansing-area attorney Steven Dunnings, is charged with two counts of engaging prostitution.
The investigation grew out of a federal probe of a human trafficking ring. Witnesses provided additional information that led to a separate investigation into Dunnings, who is facing charges in three counties.
Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth said there had been jailhouse “chatter” over Dunnings for several years before the investigation unearthed hard evidence.
Wriggelsworth called Dunnings’ alleged activity a “huge betrayal” of the public trust.
Dunnings, a Democrat, has served as county prosecutor since 1997 and was re-elected to the post multiple times, most recently in 2012 when he won nearly 70 percent of the vote against Republican challenger Matthew Scholz.
While Dunnings is innocent until proven guilty, Schuette said Monday he believes Dunnings should resign. The attorney general also intends to notify the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.