An ex-Grand Traverse County Jail administrator accused of improper behavior with female former inmates was charged with four felonies Thursday by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel

Todd Ritter, who served more than 20 years with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department, resigned while under investigation in April 2019.

Complaints from Corrections officers had prompted an internal investigation that accused Ritter of, among other things:

  • Bringing a former inmate on a work-related trip to Lansing in August 2017, charging their $192 hotel room to the department.
  • Meeting a former inmate in the basement of the county government center, where the two engaged in what was described as “intimate touching” in a closet during work hours.
  • Frequently delivering coffee and lunch orders to a former inmate while in uniform, also during working hours.
  • Keeping inappropriate text messages and photos of inmates on his county cell phone.

Ritter was arrested by state troopers Thursday at his home, according to Nessel’s office, and was expected to be arraigned at 1 p.m. Friday in 86th District Court in Traverse City.

Charges include embezzlement by a public official over $50, a 10-year felony; larceny in a building, a five-year felony; second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony;  common law offenses – misconduct in office, a five-year felony; and willful neglect of duty, a one-year misdemeanor. 

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg had asked Nessel to review the case to avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest.

“The laws of this state and country do not offer special exemptions for those in positions of power,” Nessel said. “It is my duty to enforce our laws and hold accountable anyone who fails to comply with those rules, regardless of the authority provided to them by their job title.”

Twitter: @nealrubin_dn