Another GHOST case heads to trial in Genesee County

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FLINT (WJRT) - (02/19/20) - A man who was previously involved in the Mid-Michigan youth hockey community is heading to trial.

A Genesee County district judge ruled that Kevin Maxwell, 42, should face trial on all three counts he is charged with. Those charges include sexually abusive activity, accosting a child for immoral purposes and using computers/internet to communicate with another person to commit a crime.

Investigators say the Atlas Township man showed up to a Flint Township motel in November 2019 to allegedly have sex with two 15-year-old girls.

It's another Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team or GHOST case. The operation targets human trafficking in Genesee County.

In court Wednesday there was a lot more revealed about how the operation works.

In testimony, one Genesee County sergeant said that when the decoy or "chatter" states their age is under 18 that's when most people stop communicating with the chatter. That's not where the conversation stopped in this case, according to a string of lewd text messages reviewed in court.

The situation came to a head when Maxwell showed up to a motel room in Flint Township and was arrested. He was later interviewed by a Genesee County lieutenant.

"Mr. Maxwell started out by saying that he discovered his wife was cheating on him about six months prior and that he was lonely so he went on Skip the Games and was browsing through ads," said Lt. Kariann Nelson.

Nelson was not present at the motel room when Maxwell was arrested but she interviewed him afterwards. She was one of two witnesses at today's preliminary exam.

In this case, the suspect allegedly responded to an ad and started messaging a phone number listed on the ad.

Testimony revealed the number on the ad is connected to a decoy phone loaded with decoy photos, and it was used by a deputy posing as a teenager.

Nelson says Maxwell admitted to her that he sent the lewd messages then showed up to allegedly have sex even after learning of the age of the two girls.

The messages were exchanged on the site, "Skip the games," that markets itself as an escort provider.

The defense attorney had a number of concerns, including whether Maxwell's phone was the one actually used to send the messages. He also questioned the witnesses' training and knowledge of the operation.

"The police report consisted of one page. You know, you have this huge operation put on by GHOST, and it consists of one page almost to the point where it seems like they're boiler-plating all the descriptions and everyone is charged with, you know, the three crimes," Michael Balian said.

Maxwell was bound over for trial on all three counts.

There is no trial date set just yet. His case was assigned to a circuit court judge.

ABC12 has learned that Maxwell is no longer affiliated with the Greater Saginaw Amateur Hockey Association (GSAHA).

The arena manager at Saginaw Bay Ice Arena, which is owned and operated by GSAHA, says Maxwell was suspended immediately after the airing of ABC12's report in January.

The judge also reiterated to Maxwell today that he is not supposed to have contact with anyone under age 18 as one of multiple conditions of his bond.

Of the nearly 60 people charged in connection with the GHOST stings, four have been convicted.

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