Former Edinburgh officer sentenced to 40 years for child molestation

A former Edinburgh police officer has pled guilty and been sentenced to 40 years in prison on child molestation charges in two separate cases.

Michael David Nunez, 34, pled guilty on July 13 in Johnson County Superior Court 3 in two separate child molesting cases. In the first case, he pled guilty to two counts of child molestation, a Level 1 felony. For each count, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, 10 years of which were suspended to probation, and received a jail credit of 554 days, according to online court records. Each count will be served concurrently, meaning he will serve them at the same time.

In the second case, Nunez pled guilty to one count of child molestation, a Level 4 felony, and in exchange for his plea, a second charge of child molestation as a Level 4 felony was dismissed. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, five years of which were suspended to probation. There is a chance this sentence may be modified if he successfully completes his term for the Level 1 felony case, online court records show.

The second prison term will be served consecutive, or back-to-back, with the first, meaning Nunez will serve up to 40 years in prison. Once he is released from incarceration, he will be required to register as a sex offender and will be, among other things, prohibited from residing within 1,000 feet of school property.

Nunez was suspended from his job at Edinburgh Police Department on Dec. 30, 2020, and the Edinburgh Town Council extended his suspension on Jan. 4, 2021. He was later fired during a Jan. 8, 2021, special meeting that was scheduled in the wake of the allegations against him. He was also employed by Edinburgh Community Schools as a school resource officer from October 2019 to March 2020, before the position was eliminated, school officials said in January 2021.

The first case

Nunez was arrested in January 2021 after someone who knew the child reported a child molestation incident to Edinburgh police. The department immediately turned over the case to the sheriff’s office, according to a joint news release from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office last year.

When deputies spoke with the child and their mother, they learned that Nunez sexually abused the 12-year-old victim, for six years, from 2014 to 2020. The child told deputies the abuse usually happened once a month, according to a probable cause affidavit filed on Dec. 30, 2020.

The child told deputies that the incidents happened when they were alone with Nunez and that after one of the first incidents, Nunez told the child that if they told anyone about what was happening, he would go to jail. The child also said the last time they were molested, they told Nunez that what he was doing was “gross and nasty” and they didn’t want to do it anymore, the affidavit says.

Sheriff’s deputies contacted Nunez, who spoke briefly to them before hanging up. He did not make any statement about the incident, and when detectives tried to call back, he did not answer, the affidavit says.

The second case

While Nunez was in prison awaiting the conclusion of the first case, detectives from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office were contacted by detectives from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in Arizona, who said they were investigating a child molestation case involving Nunez. The child told Arizona detectives that Nunez had molested them multiple times in Indiana.

Arizona detectives then forwarded information and interview recordings to Johnson County detectives. In the interviews, the child told deputies that Nunez had touched them inappropriately when they were visiting his home in Edinburgh and that the incidents took place a few years earlier, between 2015-2018, according to a probable cause affidavit filed on Sept. 16, 2021.

The child first told a relative about the incidents after the relative had completed a phone call with Nunez in June 2021, when he was incarcerated. The relative immediately contacted Arizona police, the affidavit says.