Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 23, 2013

Man charged after sheltering runaways in Antrim

BY ART BUKOWSKI
abukowski@record-eagle.com

BELLAIRE — An Alba man is in trouble with the law after he sheltered a runaway youth and helped another skip school.

Scott Wayne Buning, 19, is charged in Antrim County with misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, harboring runaways and attempted harboring runaways. He has been arraigned on all charges and is free on bond.

Buning was with an 11-year-old Alba girl for a few days in December, Antrim County Prosecutor Charles Koop said. The girl ran away from home and spent time with Buning. It's not clear where they stayed, but Koop believes the girl was with Buning the whole time.

Evidence strongly suggests Buning knew police actively were searching for the girl. Even if he didn't, Koop said, the situation is troubling.

"Let's assume he didn't know police were looking for her," he said. "What's a 19-year-old doing with an 11-year-old that's not related to him?"

Buning eventually contacted authorities and said he'd turn her over.

In November, it appears Buning spent time with another girl who habitually skipped school. He picked up the girl, 15, at school on at least a few occasions and drove her around town, Koop said.

Neither girl alleged any inappropriate activity, Koop said, but the incidents still are bothersome.

"I'm concerned with any 19-year-old who is showing an interest in a 15-year-old and 11-year-old," he said. "It's just a formula for disaster."

Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean said Buning went to Alba High School and has had several prior run-ins with the law.

"Parents need to be aware that there are people out there who will take advantage of young women and young men," Bean said.

Neither Buning nor his attorney, Ross Hickman, could be reached for comment.