Special prosecutor in Alger deputy case


For The Daily News

MARQUETTE – Representatives with Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office confirmed Thursday that they had received a request to appoint a special prosecutor in a possible assault case against an Alger County sheriff’s deputy.

The special prosecutor request came from Alger County Prosecutor Karen Bahrman’s office, and an appointment had not been made as of Thursday.

According to Michigan statute: “If the prosecuting attorney of a county determines himself or herself to be disqualified by reason of conflict of interest or is otherwise unable to attend to the duties of the office, he or she shall file with the attorney general a petition stating the conflict or the reason he or she is unable to serve and requesting the appointment of a special prosecuting attorney to perform the duties of the prosecuting attorney…”

The deputy in question – his name has not been released – is facing possible charges and is accused of assaulting 55-year-old George Young, who was an inmate in the Alger County Jail at the time of the alleged incident in December.

Earlier this week, Alger County Sheriff Robert Hughes confirmed an incident between Young and a deputy had been investigated as an assault and he said he had requested an external investigation by the Michigan Sheriffs Special Investigation Operations Network team. That team, made up of specially trained law enforcement officers from sheriff’s departments around the state, investigates both criminal and administrative complaints and is called in at the request of a local sheriff.

Hughes said the deputy was placed on administrative leave following the incident and that Young was then transferred to Schoolcraft County Jail at the request of his attorney, Brandon Rickard. Young has been free on bond since last week.

Young, a former employee of the HealthQuest chiropractic clinic in Munising, is facing eight charges of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, using force or coercion. The accusations are related to Young’s role as a chiropractor, but Rickard has contended that nothing inappropriate took place and that any touching of patients was “in the course of treatment and necessary.”

The attorney has said the deputy at the center of the investigation was the husband of an alleged victim.

“We’re glad (Sheriff Hughes) acknowledges the fact this incident happened, but we’re a little disappointed Mr. Young was ever put in that position,” said Rickard, who contends that charges should also be brought against a second deputy, who allegedly removed Young from his cell and transported him to an unsecured area.

Rickard previously stated that he and Young intended to name two deputies and Alger County in a civil rights lawsuit to be filed in federal court.