MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A former Muskegon County sheriff’s detective is charged with misconduct in office after prosecutors say he had a sexual relationship with a woman he was investigating.
Darric Roesler, 51, is charged with misconduct in office, a felony that carries up to five years if convicted.
Roesler had been assigned to the county’s Elder Abuse Task Force, according to Muskegon County Sheriff Michael Poulin.
Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson said the misconduct involves allegations that Roesler had a sexual relationship with a woman he was investigating for embezzling more than $10,000 from a vulnerable adult.
Hilson said he considered charging the detective with a sex crime, but while it’s illegal for a teacher to have sex with a student and a therapist to have sex with a patient, it’s not illegal when it involves consensual sex between detectives and those they are investigating.
The 43-year-old woman has pleaded no contest to a reduced charge and will face sentencing in December.
Roesler waived his preliminary hearing Monday before a visiting judge, on the same day he was arraigned, and was ordered to stand trial in circuit court.
He was released on a $5,000 bond.
“The thing is the seriousness of this,” Poulin said. “We have a duty to protect here — every law enforcement officer does.”
Poulin said the Michigan State Police notified him in April that it was investigating the allegations, leading him to place Roesler on administrative leave.
The sheriff said he suspended Roesler without pay in May, then fired him on June 15 after an internal investigation.
“If it’s a defendant or a victim, we need to treat these individuals with the utmost dignity and respect to make sure we’re doing the things we’re supposed to be doing as law enforcement professionals,” Poulin said. “This isn’t just the obligation we have as a law enforcement community when we’re dealing with individuals, but also to the public that we serve, that they know they can trust that we’re going to do the correct things.”
The sheriff’s department hired Roesler on a full-time basis six years ago on Tuesday.
The sheriff said he had worked as a firefighter in the city of Muskegon.
Roesler’s attorney, Terry Nolan, declined to comment.
Correction: A previous version of the article misstated the woman’s plea. She pleaded no contest. We regret the error, which has been fixed.