Ingham Prosecutor facing prostitution charges

Posted at 6:47 PM, Mar 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-14 18:47:39-04

It was seven months ago that Stuart Dunnings praised the people who helped bring down a local sex trafficking ring.

"I can't congratulate and thank those various agencies enough for all the hard work they put into this," said Dunnings on August 19, 2015. "To put an end to these people that were really exploiting some of our most vulnerable young ladies in our society."

But on Monday, the man who took an oath to enforce the law, was charged with paying women for sex hundreds of times over the past five years.

"We have evidence of women who have been provided drugs," said Attorney General Bill Schuette. "Who have been beaten, bruised assaulted, not one thing was done. Not one thing."

Court documents including an affidavit from an Ingham County detective show Dunnings paid at least six women, first contacting them through escort websites, before meeting at hotels in the Lansing area.

"He enticed a women who never before engaged in any type of commercial sexual activity," said Schuette. "He enticed her into this whole activity, and he violated the law."

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth calls it disheartening.

"I've known Stuart for a long time," said Sheriff Wriggelsworth. "We've done some campaigning together. This was a huge betrayal of his trust, his oath of office, his service to the people of this county."

Wriggelsworth's office has been investigating this case for almost a year now, but says he's been getting tips for much longer than that.

"It was basically jail house stuff," said Sheriff Wriggelsworth. "Talk in the jail, but nobody could come forward."

Both the sheriff and Schuette say Dunnings should step down.

"You're supposed to keep the streets safe, schools secure and enforce the law," said Schuette. "That's the first foremost responsibility of any prosecutor. I think he should resign."

Dunnings' brother Steven who's an attorney in Lansing is also facing prostitution charges related to this case.

The Attorney General's office has set up a hotline for any other victims out there. That number is (517) 241-6556.