BARAGA, Mich. (WJMN) – A Baraga County man has been charged following his arrest in a human trafficking sting operation in June 2022. William Brunk, 26, was arrested after he allegedly messaged a social media account run by a police officer posing as an underage girl.
According to a release from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Houghton County Sheriff’s deputy posted a video on a fake Snapchat account in June. The video reportedly showed the exterior of the Waterstone Suites in L’Anse Township along with a suggestive message.
Brunk allegedly sent a message to the account, who he believed to belong to a 15-year-old girl, and agreed to meet at the posted location to engage in sexual intercourse. Brunk traveled to the hotel the next day where he was arrested by law enforcement, according to Nessel.
Brunk was arraigned at the 97th District Court on Wednesday and is facing the following charges:
- One count of child sexually abusive activity, a 20-year felony
- One count of using a computer to commit a crime, a 20-year felony
- One count of accosting a child for immoral purposes, a four-year felony
- One count of using a computer to commit a crime, a seven-year felony
“Those who prey upon children are the most depraved members of society and I will use the full resources of the Department of Attorney General to prosecute offenders,” said Nessel. “I commend our partners in law enforcement for their diligence in apprehending predators that seek to exploit and assault kids.”
Bond for Brunk was set at $25,000 with the conditions that Brunk have no contact with unaccompanied minors, as well as no use of computers, including the Internet or social media, except for employment purposes. Brunk is also not allowed to have weapons, nor consume alcohol or controlled substances without a prescription.
Nessel included the following about the sting operation in her release on the arrest:
In 2019, the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office created the fake Snapchat account to aid in criminal investigations. The account profile depicted a young woman with dark hair and undercover officers added hundreds of “friends” to the account.
Since fall 2021, the sheriff’s offices of Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties, as well as the Iron River Police Department and the Upper Peninsular Human Trafficking Taskforce, have been conducting Human Trafficking Operative stings. The team of undercover law enforcement officers pose as underage males and females and are used as decoys to identify and pursue predators.
A probable cause conference for Brunk is scheduled for December 6 at 9 a.m., as well as a preliminary exam set for December 13 at 10 a.m.