BEULAH -- A corrections sergeant with the Benzie County Sheriff's Department faces a criminal sexual conduct charge for an alleged 2005 incident with a teenage girl.

Michigan State Police arrested Benzie sheriff's Sgt. Craig Baker Thursday, and the sheriff's department suspended him without pay the same day. Baker, 36, has been with the department since 1997.

Benzie County Prosecutor Anthony Cicchelli authorized a single count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, court officials said. State police said the charge stems from a incident in the winter of 2005 in which Baker allegedly touched a girl, then 14, at his residence in Beulah.

Benzie Undersheriff Rory Heckman said the department decided to check into the alleged incident after hearing members of the community talk about it.

"We looked into things, and once we decided there could be probable cause, we ... turned it over to the state police," he said.

Heckman said the incident had "no connection whatsoever" to Baker's duties with the department.

The sheriff's department couldn't suspend Baker until the arrest, Heckman said.

"All we had was rumor and innuendo, and you can't act on those," he said.

The sheriff's department will launch an internal investigation into the incident. Heckman said he wasn't aware of any past disciplinary problems with Baker.

Baker is out on bond, police said.

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