Benjamin Joseph Reinhart, 24, of Gaines, was arraigned on four counts related to communicating with who he thought was a 15-year-old girl.
Reinhart was a corrections officer for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson announced the charges during a press conference Wednesday, April 28. “We arrested one of our own,” he said.
Swanson said Reinhart had worked for the sheriff’s office since 2019.
The organization GHOST (Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team) of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office tracked approximately 450 messages between Reinhart and a GHOST decoy acting as a 15-year-old girl. Swanson said 118 of those messages and six pictures were sent while Reinhart was on duty.
“This guy doesn’t represent who we are,” the sheriff said. Swanson said anyone working with the public, including law enforcement, are to be held to a higher standard.
The decoy and Reinhart allegedly agreed to meet, however, Swanson said Reinhart did not show up for the meeting.
“I am taking responsibility,” the sheriff said of his former employee. “This happens everywhere. It happens and we must stop it.”
Reinhart was arrested Sunday, April 25. His home was raided and he was arraigned April 26. He was fired, Swanson said.
If he is found guilty as charged, Reinhart faces two 20-year felonies, a 5-year felony and a misdemeanor.
Charges include one count of child sexually abusive activity, one count of using a computer/internet to commit a crime, one count of accosting children for immoral purposes and one count of common law offense.
A $200,000 personal bond was ordered. No further court hearing have been scheduled.