LANSING (AP) –  A former state senator and Michigan Liquor Commission chairman was charged Tuesday with multiple sex crimes, some involving middle-school-age children.

Philip Arthurhultz, 63, of Lansing was charged with conspiracy to entice a minor girl for immoral purposes, gross indecency between males, tampering with a witness and accosting children, Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said in a news release.

Arthurhultz was jailed on a $150,000 bond.

The charges grew out of investigations by Lansing police and the state police Internet crimes unit, Dunnings said. He said Arthurhultz has a status conference in district court Monday and a preliminary hearing April 21. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

A phone message seeking comment was left at Arthurhultz’s office after business hours Tuesday. Phone and email messages also were left late Tuesday for his lawyer, Frank Reynolds.

The charges involve middle school-age children, Dunnings told the Lansing State Journal, declining to elaborate. He said police are trying to learn if there are other victims.

Arthurhultz, a Republican, served in the Senate from 1979-94, representing Whitehall in Muskegon County. He was majority floor leader.

After Arthurhultz decided not to run for re-election in 1994, then-Gov. John Engler named him head of the Liquor Control Commission and charged him with the task of privatizing the state’s liquor distribution system.

He served on the Liquor Control Commission in 1995-98, resigning after an audit questioned his use of state cars and telephones. Arthurhultz repaid $12,000 to the state.

Then-state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat who went on to serve two terms as governor, investigated but declined to press charges.

Arthurhultz hosted a five-day-a-week, hour-long call-in program for Lansing radio station WJIM-AM for six years, ending in 2001.

A self-described lifelong Republican, Arthurhultz endorsed and campaigned for Barack Obama for president in 2008.

“He’s perfectly positioned to change the way the system operates,” Arthurhultz told The Muskegon Chronicle at the time.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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