LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A judge has dismissed sexual abuse charges against former Republican state Sen. Phillip Arthurhultz.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports that Ingham County Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield on Friday dropped the charges after material witnesses were unable to be located and served subpoenas.

Manderfield denied a motion by prosecutors for an adjournment to investigate and provide for an opportunity to find the witnesses.

The 64-year-old Arthurhultz was charged last April with conspiracy to entice a minor girl for immoral purposes, gross indecency between males, tampering with a witness and accosting children. Conviction could have carried a total penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

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.

TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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