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Former Osceola County Sheriff's Deputy Sentenced for Child Sex Crimes, Felony Drug Charges

LANSING - A former Osceola County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty today to multiple felony drug charges and possessing child sexually abusive material, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced. 

Andrew Wernette, 39, of Reed City, entered the plea today in Osceola County 49th Circuit Court before Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy.  

Wernette pleaded guilty to: 

  • Two counts of aggravated child sexually abusive activity, a 25-year felony;
  • Using a computer to commit a crime, a 20-year felony;
  • Child sexually abusive activity-aggravated possession, a 10-year felony;
  • Child sexually abusive material-distributing or promoting, a seven-year felony;
  • Larceny in a building, a four-year felony;
  • Possession of a controlled substance - morphine, a two-year felony;
  • Possession of a controlled substance - OxyContin, a two-year felony; and
  • Controlled substance-maintaining a drug house, a two-year high-court misdemeanor. 

"The crimes this defendant has now pled guilty to are extremely disturbing," Nessel said. "Children must never be taken advantage of, and this office will take aggressive action to ensure the laws that protect them are enforced and those individuals who exploit minors or support that immoral behavior are punished." 

A tip provided to authorities led to the execution of a search warrant, which allowed police to discover more than 100 images and video of child sexually abusive material on Wernette's computers and cell phone. It also led authorities to the discovery of drugs that were illegally in Wernette's possession.    

Wernette used his position as a deputy in charge of the drug takeback program at the Osceola County Sheriff's Office's to procure various medications meant to be disposed of for his own personal use.  

Michigan State Police conducted the investigation and arrested Wernette on Sept. 14, 2020. The Attorney General's office is prosecuting the case following a request from the Osceola County Prosecutor's Office due to a conflict of interest. 

Wernette was originally charged with additional counts, but those were dismissed following his plea today. Those charges were: 

  • Child sexually abusive activity, a 20-year felony; 
  • Using a computer to commit a crime, a 20-year felony; 
  • Child sexually abusive activity, a 15-year felony; and
  • Controlled substance - delivery/manufacture of morphine, a seven-year felony. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced March 26.