A former Langlade County Deputy accused of having an inappropriate relationship with teenage girls has waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Michael Brayton, 25, appeared in Marathon County Court Monday. He told the court, he did not want to victimize those involved in the case. As a result, Brayton will head to trial.
He's facing 22 charges including, four counts of 2nd degree sexual assault of a child, two counts of child enticement, and 16 counts of exposing his genitals to a child after investigators say he carried on an inappropriate relationship with four high school students.
Monday in court, the defense made a motion to drop 16 charges of Exposing Genitals to a Child. That will be discussed at a later hearing. "The motion is interesting because as technology advances sometimes the statutes don't keep up like we would hope they would. In this case, we're texting photographs so when you're texting photographs, the question is that really exposing genitals to a child? Typically, when we think of exposing genitals it's in person," said Assistant District Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon.
According to online court records the alleged crimes occurred in January, March, April and July. It was found none of the alleged crimes took place while Brayton was on duty.
According to the criminal complaint, two of the text messages Brayton sent to one of the teens said "Hurry up and turn 18" and "I can't wait until you turn 18". The teen, who was 17 at the time, turned 18 last fall. She told investigators she and Brayton had sexual intercourse "Three or four times" after her 18th birthday. She also told investigators Brayton had asked her to send him inappropriate images of herself prior to her 18th birthday.
The criminal complaint also states Brayton had sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl. She also told investigators she received 10-15 nude photos of Brayton.
In a news release, the Langlade County Sheriff says Brayton was deputy with department from July 2008 to June 11, 2012. According to the criminal complaint, Brayton resigned.
Marathon County will be prosecuting the case to avoid a conflict of interest.