2011 Feb 07: Richard Mink of Muskegon charged with two felonies for allegedly abusing two foreign exchange students he hosted at his home

Heather Lynn Peters | hpeters@mlive.comBy Heather Lynn Peters | hpeters@mlive.com 
on February 07, 2011 at 9:58 AM, updated February 07, 2011 at 5:10 PM

MUSKEGON — A 75-year-old Muskegon man who has hosted foreign exchange students for more than a decade has been charged with two felonies for allegedly abusing two teen boys, one from Germany and the other from South Korea.

M0208EXCHANGE.jpgRichard William Mink

Richard William Mink, 2520 Glenside, was arraigned recently in Muskegon County 60th District Court before Judge Andrew Wierengo III on one count of child abusive commercial activity — producing child pornography — and one count of second-degree child abuse in connection with two separate cases involving two unrelated international students.

Mink is free on a $20,000 signature bond issued by Wierengo. The judge set his preliminary examination for Thursday.

Both males were immediately removed from Mink’s home when the initial complaints were filed, said Muskegon Police Department Lt. Leah Fenwick.

The most recent case involves a 15-year-old male from South Korea who began staying with Mink in August 2010, Fenwick said.

The teen, who had been attending a local high school in Muskegon County, reported to a school counselor that he had been abused, sometimes sexually, at the hands of Mink.

A school official then reported the teen’s claims to authorities, Fenwick said.

“He said he was inappropriately touched,” Fenwick said.

The victim also said Mink forced him to sleep nude, shower with others staying at the house and “touched the teen on his genitals and claimed he was doing a medical examination,” Fenwick said.

Mink also allegedly struck the boy on his “bare bottom” and spanked him with a “flat stick,” Fenwick said.

The investigation into the recent claims led authorities to search Mink’s home where they discovered nude photos of a 16-year-old Germany male exchange student, apparently taken by Mink, Fenwick said.

One photo showed the 16-year-old victim completely naked, during the day at a Muskegon-area beach, Fenwick said.

An investigation into whether any additional criminal activity occurred between Mink and other exchange students is ongoing, Fenwick said.

The South Korean student was connected with Mink through Ayusa Global Youth Exchange, which it’s website lists as a non-profit organization designated by the U.S. Department of State. It wasn’t clear how Mink came in contact with the German student.

Sherry Carpenter, Executive Director of Ayusa, said the organization was devastated to hear of the alleged abuse.

“The moment Ayusa became aware of the unfortunate incident involving one of our foreign exchange students we immediately removed the student from the host family. We then quickly followed all Ayusa and U.S. Department of State policies and procedures, including reporting and contacting the authorities,” Carpenter said in a statement to the Chronicle.

Carpenter said last year was the first time Mink ever hosted an exchange student with Ayusa.

E-mail:

hpeters@muskegonchronicle.com

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