UPDATE: (4:28 p.m.) — Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield has denied claims that he committed sexual assault, instead calling it a consensual relationship.
Yesterday reports started surfacing that State police in northern Michigan were investigating Chatfield after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her multiple times, beginning when she was 14 or 15 years old.
The woman filed a complaint with the Lansing Police Department, who then referred it to the Michigan State Police.
Chatfield has responded today, saying that he has had affairs during his relationship, including with the woman who is making the claims, but they were always consensual.
Attorneys speaking on behalf of Chatfield released the following statement:
“Mr. Chatfield is innocent of the false rape claims made against him. He had affairs while he was married, including a sexual relationship with the woman who is now claiming she was raped. Their affair lasted for years, but they were both consenting adults. Mr. Chatfield deeply regrets the decisions he has made. It has caused great pain to his wife and family, and they are working through this together. But he did not assault this woman in any manner during their years-long adult relationship. He intends to vigorously fight these false claims.”
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A high-profile former member of the Michigan House of Representatives is under investigation after being accused of sexual assault.
6 News is not identifying this former lawmaker because so far no charges have been filed in the case.
State police in northern Michigan were investigating Thursday after a woman accused the former Michigan House member of sexually assaulting her multiple times, beginning when she was 14 or 15 years old.
The accuser, now 26, filed a criminal complaint with the Lansing Police Department, which referred it to state police earlier this week.
Her lawyer, Jamie White, confirmed the nature of the allegations first reported by Lansing City Pulse, including that the former Michigan House member began molesting her more than a decade ago and the sexual contact continued until last year.
State police spokesperson Shanon Banner declined to provide additional information.
The alleged assaults began when the then-14 or 15-year-old girl attended a northern Michigan church and school, White said.
The former Michigan House member taught and coached at the school and was the athletic director between 2010 and 2014, according to their LinkedIn profile. Their father is pastor of the church, the school superintendent, and a teacher.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they choose to come forward publicly.
The former Michigan House member taught and coached at the school and was the athletic director between 2010 and 2014, according to their LinkedIn profile. Their father is pastor of the church, the school superintendent and a teacher.
The Associated Press left phone and text messages seeking comment from the accused, but haven’t heard back.
“She did what she’s supposed to do. She went to the immediate jurisdiction that she thought was appropriate,” White said. “Her and her family, they’re working through it. They’re looking forward to working with law enforcement to bring this allegation to conclusion and (bring) accountability for others that have been harmed.”
If any charges are issued against the former State House member, 6 News will report the person’s name.