Flint, MI– As a result of a sting operation over the weekend, a corrections deputy at the Genesee County Jail has been fired and is facing four charges related to child sexual abuse.
Benjamin Reinhart, 24, sent 446 messages to who he believed to be a 15-year-old girl. Of those messages, 118 texts and six explicit photos were sent while he was on duty over the weekend at the jail.
The person he was texting was actually an undercover police officer.
Sheriff Chris Swanson said Reinhart sent sexually explicit photos, and was “almost demanding” that the person on the other end send photos in return. The undercover officer had scheduled a time to meet up with Reinhart, but he did not show.
Within 12 hours of Reinhart leaving his shift at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Swanson said his house was raided, and he was arrested, charged, arraigned, and fired.
Reinhart is facing four charges including two 20-year felonies, one five-year felony, and a charge for misconduct in office. The charges are for child sexually abusive activity, using a computer/internet to communicate with another person to commit a crime, accosting a child for immoral purposes, and misconduct in office.
His bond has been set at $50,000.
Swanson announced these charges, as well as charges brought against two other predators found through the operation, on Wednesday afternoon.
Reinhart was hired in July 2019, and Swanson said that his actions were “embarrassing” for the Sheriff’s Office, but by being transparent about the case, they could “break the code of silence.”
“You’ve heard the media conversations talk about…the blue wall of silence. That we don’t disclose our dirty laundry within our own agency,” Swanson said. “Well, that doesn’t happen in the Sheriff’s Office in Genesee County and the colleagues that I work with every day, because we did arrest our own.”
The undercover officer that was texting with Reinhart was part of a G.H.O.S.T (Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team) operation. The G.H.O.S.T team that caught Reinhart consists of undercover officers online pretending to be underaged children attempting to catch predators before they get to real victims.
Swanson shared that since the team’s creation in 2018, they’ve gotten 104 predators off the street, most of whom did not have any prior criminal history.
“I stand here before you to accept responsibility for what happened while I was on duty, and to show you, and warn people that it happens everywhere,” Swanson said. “It happens everywhere…and because it happens, we won’t stop.”