2018-03-22 / Front Page

Haugen suspended after arrest

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff


Haugen Haugen The head of the Leelanau County Construction Code Authority, building official Steven M. Haugen, has been charged with felony criminal sexual conduct and domestic violence in Benzie County where he resides.

Leelanau County Administrator Chet Janik said that he learned of allegations against Haugen last week after Haugen was arrested on March 12. He immediately placed Haugen on paid administrative leave.

Janik said that after he read detailed reports provided by Benzie County officials this week, he placed Haugen on unpaid administrative leave because it became clearer to him how serious the allegations are.

According to a “probable cause arrest form” completed by the Benzie County Sheriff’s Deputy who arrested Haugen on March 12, the allegations were made by Haugen’s wife.

“Upon finding out she wanted a divorce, (Steve Haugen) tried to force himself onto her (his wife),” according to the police report.

“Upon interviewing the suspect,” the deputy wrote, “he (Haugen) admitted that the victim told him ‘no’ multiple times.” The report added: “Both parties agree on the events that took place.”

According to Benzie County Prosecuting Attorney Sara M. Swanson, Haugen was arraigned in a Benzie County courtroom on March 13.

“His bond was set at $100,000,” Swanson said. “He has posted bond and is free on bail.”

Swanson said a probable cause hearing has been set for Monday at 1 p.m.

“We do not typically hold the Probable Cause Conferences in the courtroom on the record,” Swanson said. “Generally, it is an opportunity for me to meet with the defense attorney to determine if there is any possible resolution short of trial.”

A preliminary examination is currently scheduled for April 1 – the next time Haugen is expected to appear in court. He has retained an attorney, according to Swanson.

Haugen, 64, was hired on as Leelanau County building official in April 2013. His annual salary this year was $67,952. He had previously worked as building official for Benzie County and the City of Frankfort. Before that, he served as a member of the Benzie County Board of Commissioners.

He has been charged with one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct – Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration. If convicted of that felony, he could serve up to 10 years in prison. He has also been charged with Domestic Violence and could face up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine if convicted of that misdemeanor.

Janik said he has appointed Paul Hunter as interim building official for Leelanau County. Hunter has been a full-time employee of the Construction Code Authority for three years.

In recent months, Haugen had been trying to add staff to the Construction Code Authority to keep up with greater demand for inspections, building permits and plan reviews. Before the 2008 recession, the department employed eight full-time personnel, many of them unionized. More recently, the department has included four full-time personnel and four parttime or contracted personnel.

For 2018, the department’s overall budget was projected to be balanced at $899,216 in revenues and expenditures, up from $758,465 in revenues and expenditures in 2017. The department is funded almost entirely through the fees it collects for the services it provides.

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Well he attempted to do the

Well he attempted to do the same to me. (I was one of the ones who called you to let you know what your husband had tried. Too bad the Benzie court didn’t address the issue way back then! Nope, sweep it under the rug. )

I remember well! He said I

I remember well! He said I was crazy to believe you.

This same exact thing

This same exact thing happened to me by this monster but way way worse.