For many children and even some adults, going to the dentist is not a trip they like to take. But for one young patient, police say his visits were a nightmare.
"This child was put in an unreasonable situation," said Detective Elizabeth Reust. "His parents took him to the dentist and he got abused there so it's particularly bothersome."
Detective Reust and Detective Vicky Nevins of the Lansing Police Department have been investigating this case for the past six weeks or so. 64-year-old Dr. Wendell Alan Racette was arraigned on Monday morning on eight counts of criminal sexual conduct. A 20 year old man came forward just last month saying Dr. Racette molested him starting when he was just five years old.
"He had been sexually abused by his dentist from the time he was in kindergarten and through the fifth grade from 1995-2000," said Det. Reust.
The alleged abuse lasted five years until the state took Racette's dental license. Then-attorney general Jennifer Granholm charged him with medicaid fraud and ironically, child abuse --- but for poor dental work on children, not for any sexual crimes. And those charges were dropped. This new case, police say, happened Racette's dental practice on East Saginaw in Lansing, behind closed doors while parents were kept out.
"The allegation is that the abuse took place while the child was at the dentist receiving dental care in the dental office," said Det. Reust.
The victim allegedly suffered five years of abuse, but took more than ten years to report it.
"He had struggled with making a decision about reporting, not reporting --- it just felt like it was the time to do so, he felt like he was strong enough," said Reust.
Police believe there could be more victims out there who would come to this dental practice as a child and be preyed upon.
If you have any information on this case or if you are a victim, contact Detectives Reust or Nevins at (517) 483-6860 or (517) 483-6855.