Traverse City Record-Eagle


July 16, 2011

Former county prosecutor faces misdemeanor

Anthony Cicchelli allegedly assaults child

TRAVERSE CITY — Former Benzie County Prosecutor Anthony Cicchelli faces a misdemeanor assault charge over allegations that he grabbed a 9-year-old boy.

Cicchelli, who served as Benzie's prosecutor from 1996 through 2008, turned himself in to the Benzie County Sheriff's Department on July 6. He was released on a personal recognizance bond, and a trial is set for Aug. 29.

Leelanau County Prosecutor Joe Hubbell issued the charge. Benzie County Prosecutor J.B. Daugherty declined to handle the case, so the Michigan Attorney General's Office named Hubbell as a special prosecutor.

Hubbell wouldn't comment on the case, nor would Michigan State Police, who investigated the incident.

The charges stem from an incident in November at Frankfort Elementary School, said Troy McKinley, the alleged victim's father. Cicchelli put his arms around and squeezed the boy, then 9, and also pushed his fist against the boy's ribs, McKinley said.

Cicchelli thought McKinley's son had said something derogatory to Cicchelli's son, McKinley said. He came to the school during an after-school event and called the boy over, then grabbed him.

"He was very shaken up over the whole ordeal," McKinley said of his son.

Traverse City attorney Craig Elhart is representing Cicchelli.

"Mr Cicchelli thought he was acting appropriately under the circumstances," Elhart said.

Cicchelli didn't seek re-election in 2008 after a series of incidents that included sanctions and public reprimands for his conduct.

He told a Benzie magistrate in 2008 to dismiss a speeding ticket that state police issued to his stepson. State police investigated Cicchelli's actions but said criminal charges weren't warranted. The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission in 2009 fined and reprimanded Cicchelli for the incident.

In 2005, an Attorney Discipline Board panel found Cicchelli committed professional misconduct for making "negligently inaccurate statements" to a magistrate and state police stemming from another ticket-fixing case in 2002.

Cicchelli now works in private practice in Frankfort. A message was left Friday with Cicchelli seeking comment.

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