February 11, 2016

CSC charges against Booth dismissed, O’Neill withdraws guilty plea


ARENAC COUNTY — Two defendants in a Turner prostitution scandal that broke open last year appeared in Arenac County’s 23rd Circuit Court on June 26, with the appearances seeing the defendants moving in opposite directions of the justice system.

Kevin O’Neill, who had originally pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a person under 13 and a count of attempted second-degree CSC with a person under 13, had a change of heart in the courtroom, withdrawing his guilty plea. A jury trial in circuit court, date not yet determined, will be held later this year for O’Neill.

James Booth, who was facing one count of first-degree CSC with a person under 13, was dismissed of that charge. New charges, less severe, are being issued against him in Arenac County’s 81st District Court.

Charges against both men stem from an alleged prostitution ring in Turner uncovered by the Michigan State Police, where adults were allegedly having sexual relations with minors. Roger Burgess, the defendant who was facing the most counts of CSC, pleaded guilty Feb. 11.

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