GENESEE COUNTY, MI — A former Genesee County Jail corrections officer has been sentenced to five years of probation after he was caught in a sex-trafficking sting by the sheriff’s office GHOST operation.
Benjamin Reinhart, was sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 21 by Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Brian S. Pickell to five years of probation.
He will be placed on a tether for the first 180 days of probation, according to circuit court documents. He will also be placed on the non-public sex offender registry.
Reinhart pleaded guilty in August to one count of using a computer to commit a crime and one count of misconduct in office.
The plea agreement dropped charges of child sexually abusive activity and children accosting for immoral purposes and included a sentence agreement for no up-front jail time as well as a cap of six months on a jail tether.
Reinhart was arrested and fired from his position with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office in April after he allegedly exchanged messages with an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old girl online, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said during an April news briefing.
Swanson said Reinhart sent 446 messages to the undercover officer he believed was a 15-year-old, 118 messages and six pictures of which he sent while on duty. He also sent “graphic pictures” and “almost demanded” the decoy to send pictures of themself in return, the sheriff said.
But when Reinhart was asked to meet the decoy, he didn’t show up.
This was what differentiated Reinhart’s case from other GHOST cases, his attorney, Mike Manley, has said.
The Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team, or GHOST, was started by former county Sheriff Robert Pickell to fight human trafficking in the area. Sting operations often involve undercover officers posing as underage victims.
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