CLINTON COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — Advocates for sexual assault survivors claim Clinton County Prosecutor Tony Spagnuolo has not been handling their cases with proper care.

Spagnuolo has pushed back on the claims, saying it’s a problem of not having enough resources and people.

A more than 50 page independent study looked into both the structure and needs of the office and shows that while there can be improvements in resources like pay, it might not be the full picture.

Released in July, the study found two trends in the office: overwhelmed staff and significant change, including newer technology, case procedures, and turnover since Spagnuolo took over as Clinton County Prosecutor in 2020.

The findings come as advocates for sexual violence survivors have shared their frustration again and again with Spagnuolo, accusing him of not building solid cases.

“We want an office, a prosecutor’s office that is holding defendants accountable; that is prepared for trial; that is going into court and ready to do business,” said David Hunt III, board member of the SafeCenter.

Hunt is with the SafeCenter, one of the nonprofits that has shared concerns about difficult working relationships between advocates and the prosecutor’s office.

The study noted there are strained relationships with stakeholders outside of the office, with consultants saying that create additional work for county staff.

Read More: Survivor advocates criticize Clinton Co. prosecutor’s performance

6 News spoke with Spagnuolo in June, where he pushed back against criticism of his performance, saying his office does not have enough resources to keep up with defense attorneys or fill the jobs that are open.

The third-party study found while staff are overwhelmed, it is “not clear that the reason for that is entirely due to lack of resources.”

With his office down two attorneys and a secretary, the study noted that issues cannot be solved without first filling and maintaining current positions and says that’s up to Spagnuolo.

Changes are already coming down the pipeline from the recommendations.

Along with offering $5,000 signing bonuses and increasing attorney pay, the Clinton County Controller John Fuentes suggested a new position for someone just focused on handling evidence for attorneys.

“The commissioners took the step to do their part to provide an adequate level of resources for the prosecutor. And obviously it will take some time to fill those positions,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes says the funding recommendations have already been added to this year’s budget and will continue into 2024.

6 News did reach out to Spagnuolo through multiple phone calls and email, as well as an office visit Wednesday but has yet to hear back.