Former Grand Traverse County Jail Administrator Charged for Embezzlement, Sex Crimes, Larceny
The Michigan Attorney General’s office is charging a former Grand Traverse County leader for sex crimes, larceny and embezzlement.
Assistant AG Danielle Hagaman-Clark says former jail administrator Todd Ritter had sexual encounters with former inmates on county time and property and also bought some ex-inmates gifts with his government-issued credit card.
He is also accused of inappropriately touching a female inmate at the jail, which he was in charge of supervising. Further, investigators say he stole drug test kits from the county.
“I think that sexual assault of somebody who is serving a jail sentence…is very serious,” said Hagaman-Clark during Friday afternoon’s arraignment.
Over the course of years, investigators say he spent thousands in county tax dollars to deliver food and gifts to former inmates and even took at least one woman with him during a work-related trip that required a hotel stay.
“What the people find most egregious, your honor, is that the charges the defendant is facing demonstrate a pattern of conduct from as far back as 2014 to when he eventually was forced to resign,” said Hagaman-Clark during the virtual hearing.
Ritter has a court appointed lawyer who pointed to his clean criminal history and time served in the military.
“We have a gentleman who has no absolutely no criminal history has served our community well up until its termination of employment, back in April, 2019, clearly it’s not a flight risk not a danger to himself or anyone else,” he said.
Greg Hall, who’s running for county sheriff, says Ritter and other leaders need to be held accountable for the crimes and the culture that allowed this alleged behavior to continue for years undetected.
“At the end of the day, he needs to be accountable for what he did,” Hall said. “Hopefully, the people within the jail will, you know, use this as an impetus to make the changes that are needed.”
Hall says he has sources and documents that show that Ritter was reported long before any discipline was taken against him.
“The same conditions that allowed Todd Ritter to get away with what he did for so long are still there,” Hall said.
County Administrator Nate Alger said in a phone call that he’s happy to say action taken against Ritter.
Current Grand Traverse County Sheriff Tom Bensley did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Ritter was scheduled for a preliminary examination in a few weeks, but his lawyer has asked for more time to review evidence in the case.