UP psychologist charged after allegedly giving patients drugs in exchange for sexual favors

LANSING, Mich. - Psychologist Michael Wallace Varney, 61, of Caspian, was charged Friday with 50 felony counts on allegations he provided patients with oxycodone and other drugs in exchange for sexual favors.

A tip in 2017 started an investigation into Varney. The investigation alleged that, over at least 10 years, Varney was providing patients with controlled substances such as oxycodone, Valium, Dilaudid as well as marijuana, in exchange for sexual favors.  

As a psychologist with a limited license, practicing in Marquette, Caspian and Kingswood, Varney was not legally able to prescribe medication to his patients. Additionally, the patients who saw Varney were often referrals from the court system and probationers, who were required to undergo testing or treatment for drug addiction.

His license was suspended in July 2018.

Varney is facing the charges across three counties. The full list of charges is as follows:

Marquette County

  • Three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • Four counts of delivery of a Schedule 2 substance

Iron County 

  • Eight counts of delivery of a Schedule 4 controlled substance
  • Ten counts of delivery of a Schedule 2 substance
  • One count of delivery of methamphetamine
  • One count of delivery of marijuana

Dickinson County

  • Four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • Fourteen counts of delivery of a Schedule 2 substance
  • Five counts of delivery of marijuana

Varney was arraigned on the charges he is facing in Marquette County on Thursday. His arraignments in Iron and Dickinson counties are still being planned.

Bond was set at $250,000 per count in Marquette County, totaling $1.75 million surety bond.

He is expected back in court on Oct. 3.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about Varney is asked to contact the Michigan State Police at 313-418-2731.

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