Benzie County Man Charged with 7 Counts of CSC
“This is evil,” said Sheriff Ted Schendel. “There’s really no other way to say it, I can’t wrap my mind around it.”
A man accused of sexually assaulting at least three victims over the course of years.
He is in jail right now, considered a flight risk.
The allegations date back to between 2007 and 2012 but deputies just arrested Michael Bancroft on Wednesday.
The Benzie County Sheriff’s Office says this is not the end of their investigation.
“Making a child a victim, it’s horrendous,” said Sheriff Schendel.
Michael Bancroft is behind bars.
The crimes he’s charged with could put him in prison for 15 years.
It started with a tip from Child Protective Services.
Sheriff Schendel says Bancroft has eight kids. He says they are now in CPS custody.
“In this particular case, we had three victims that were willing to step forward and give us the information that we needed so that we could do a proper investigation and bring forth charges,” said Sheriff Schendel.
The first is related to Bancroft. The alleged victim between 13 and 16-years-old.
The second is a family friend. The alleged victim 17 years or older.
The third lived in the same neighborhood. The alleged victim under 13.
“It’s an open investigation,” said Sheriff Schendel. “It’s going to continue and typically we believe that the possibility of more victims coming forward will contact us.”
In the court room on Thursday, Benzie County prosecuting attorney Sara Swanson asked the judge for a high bond.
“I would argue that he is a danger to the community,” said Swanson. “These three files represent three different victims, I also would argue that he is a flight risk upon information and belief when investigators went to his house, he and his family were packing up their belongings and planning to flee the state.”
Bancroft arguing he has had plenty of time to leave and hasn’t.
“I’m a fifth generation Bancroft, I’m here to live, to stay, to fight and ultimately when I die, I’ll be buried in this county,” he said.
The judge still setting each charge at $100,000 cash or surety.
Bancroft will be back in court next month.
Sheriff Schendel wants to remind everyone that they are there to help and there are other resources they can provide.
He said as the investigation continues, he wants to remind victims that they are a safe place for them to come.
We will continue digging deeper into this case.