Former Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy Facing Child Sex Crimes, Felony Drug Charges 

Andrew Wernette

Former Osceola County sheriff’s deputy Andrew Wernette pleaded guilty Friday to multiple felony drug charges and possessing child sexually abusive material.

Wernette, of Reed City, entered the plea Friday in Osceola County 49th Circuit Court.

“The crimes this defendant has now pled guilty to are extremely disturbing,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement. “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.”

The state attorney general’s office says 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.

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.

Wernette was originally charged with several other counts, but those were dismissed following his plea Friday. 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.

A tip 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.

Michigan State Police conducted an investigation and arrested Wernette on Sept. 14, 2020.

He is scheduled to be sentenced March 26.