REED CITY \u2014 A Reed City man admitted to possessing hundreds of images of child pornography during a hearing in court and now awaits sentencing. Andrew C. Wernette appeared, via Zoom, before Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy on Friday, Feb. 26 for a settlement conference hearing. Wernette, 39, was charged with two counts of aggravated child sexually abusive activity; two counts of using a computer to commit a crime; two counts of possession of a non-narcotic; and single counts of aggravated distributing or promoting child sexually abusive activity; distributing or promoting child sexually abusive activity; aggravated possession of child sexually abusive material; child abusive commercial activity; maintaining a drug house; and delivery\/manufacturing of a non-narcotic. The Michigan Attorney General\u2019s Office was assigned to prosecute Wernette\u2019s case in Osceola County\u2019s 49th Circuit Court. During Friday\u2019s hearing, Hill-Kennedy reviewed terms of a plea deal the AG\u2019s Office offered Wernette, who attended the hearing from the Mecosta County Jail. Per the agreement, Wernette would plead guilty to two counts of aggravated child sexually abusive activity; two counts of possession of a controlled substance-analogues; and single counts of aggravated distributing or promoting child sexually abusive activity; distributing or promoting child sexually abusive activity; larceny in a building; and maintaining a drug house. In exchange for a guilty plea, the AG\u2019s Office would dismiss the remaining charges. The judge asked Wernette if he understood the terms of the plea agreement and if it was his intention to enter a guilty plea. \u201cYes sir,\u201d Wernette replied. Prior to accepting the plea, Donna Pendergast, first assistant attorney general, asked Wernette several questions related to the case to determine a factual basis to his guilty plea. Court records show Wernette\u2019s alleged offenses date back to June 30, 2014. Investigators conducted a search of Wernette\u2019s Reed City home Sept. 15, 2020. During the search, authorities seized two computers \u2014 belonging to Wernette \u2014 and discovered more than 100 images of child pornography on each computer. At Friday\u2019s hearing, Wernette admitted he downloaded and made copies of more than 100 images of child pornography on his two computers. He also confessed to using his personal cell phone to take pictures of the images on the computer screen and make copies for himself. Prior to his arrest, Wernette was employed with the Osceola County Sheriff\u2019s Department sometime in 2018. During his time with the department, Wernette was in a \u201csecretary-like\u201d position, answered phone calls and always wore civilian clothes, the sheriff\u2019s office previously told the Big Rapids Pioneer. Pertaining to Wernette\u2019s drug charges, he admitted to stealing drugs \u2014 morphine and oxycontin \u2014 that belonged to the department\u2019s Drug Take Back program. Investigators found the drugs hidden in Wernette\u2019s home. Hill-Kennedy accepted the plea agreement and set sentencing for March 26. As of Friday, Wernette remains lodged in the Mecosta County Jail. He is being represented by defense attorney Robert S. Hackett. \u201cThe crimes this defendant has now pled guilty to are extremely disturbing,\u201d Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel stated in a release. \u201cChildren must never be taken advantage of, and this office will take aggressive action to ensure the laws that protect them are enforced and those individuals who exploit minors or support that immoral behavior are punished.\u201d The Pioneer is a Hearst-owned, sister publication of the Herald Review.