A retired former Langlade County Sheriff’s Department deputy, known as the “hot cop” by a group of Elcho teen-age girls, was incarcerated today after he was cited on 22 charges linked to his sexual behavior in the Elcho area.
Michael D. Brayton, 25, who now lives on Highway T in the Gleason area, is facing 22 charges, most of them felonies, linked to incidents in the Elcho area with four girls, ages 18, 17, 16, and 15.
Brayton, who left his post after the investigation into the allegations was launched, is being held on a $50,000 bond at a site outside of Langlade County.
Brayton is facing four counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 16, two charges of felonies involving child enticement and 16 counts of exposing genitals and his pubic area.
The Langlade County Sheriff’s Department and the office of District Attorney Ralph Uttke turned the case over to Marathon County investigators and prosecutors, who filed the paperwork in court here this morning.
Uttke explained that he recused himself from the case due to his close working relationship with the sheriff’s department and that he will continue to use Brayton as a witness in other pending cases in which he was the investigating officer.
Theresa Wetzsteon, an assistant district attorney from Marathon County, will serve as special prosecutor.
Judge Fred Kawalski also recused himself from the case, advising that the matter will be assigned to a different judge. His next hearing date has not been set.
Most of the crimes occurred when Brayton lived in a home on Highway B north of Summit Lake.
The 32-page complaint, written by the Marathon County district attorney’s office, outlines a pattern of behavior with younger girls from the Elcho High School and heavy use of the electronic media, including Facebook and text-messaging.
According to the complex document, Brayton and the girls became friendly and then the relationships escalated to include trading sexually explicit photographs and, in several instances, actual physical contact with one of the girls.
The incidents apparently began with the oldest girl in summer, 2011 and escalated to include a 15-year-old beginning in November, 2011, a 16-year-old early this year and a 17-year-old as recently as April or May.
In their various statements, the girls described Brayton as a “hot cop,” with one noting she was initially flattered by the attention from an older guy, but then began to feel it was wrong.
In his statements to investigators, Brayton said he took full responsibility for his actions and that nothing ever occurred while he was on duty as a sheriff deputy.
He also stressed that the sexual activity did not involve any use of force or alcohol.
“Either way I’m an adult,” Brayton is quoted as saying in the complaint. “Its my fault, it’s my decision and you live with the consequences. I’m 100 percent guilty.”