NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodDowntown - Old Town - REO Town


'Betrayed, disgusted' Survivors of Gerald Sutter abuse shares their story

Survivors and State Rep. Julie Brixie
Posted at 10:37 PM, Dec 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-06 22:37:09-05
  • Video shows press conference held for survivors.
  • Survivors of abuse from a local youth sports referee are speaking out and sharing their story.
  • They are hoping to see change with the statute of limitations for criminal sexual abuse conduct.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Decades after they were abused by a local referee, survivors are speaking out and asking for change.

"Betrayed, disgusted. I mean until this day," Cory Rens

These are all emotions Cory Rens is dealing with after he says he says he was sexually abused by well-known youth referee Gerald Sutter.

"Started when I was 7 years old. Just an active normal young boy playing sports," Rens said.

Rens is now 49.

"It was hard. It was hard to come forward but I felt that I had to. If it wasn't for me coming forward I don't know how much longer I could carry it," Rens said.

Sutter was arrested back in October 2022 on charges related to one minor male victim.

In September, he was sentenced on two counts - 1st degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct after pleading guilty to charges.

"Yeah he's locked up and everything else. But not for anything he's done to us."

On Wednesday Rens along with Shawn Sutherlin spoke out for the first time and shared their experiences.

"I'm a victim of Gerald Sutter. I actually met him 25 years ago. And if you do the math I was 16 years old."

"The way I met him I was at a concession stand. He had access to so many athletes," Sutherlin said.

Democratic State Representative Julie Brixie, from Meridian Township has introduced legislation to increase the statute of limitations for criminal sexual conduct.

"The justice for survival bills is a package of bills that deals with criminal sexual conduct. And it would extend the sexual limitations for these types of crimes," State Rep. Brixie said.

"Very importantly it would extend the statute of limitations in civil court to age 52 which is the average a victim of child sexual assault comes forward to disclose that abuse," she said.

Right now, the statute of limitations for criminal sexual abuse conduct in Michigan is 28.

She says the bills have been introduced, have passed out of the criminal justice committee, and are waiting to be put up for a vote on the house floor.

"Im hoping that this will be signed by the governor next year after passing through the house and senate," she said.

According to law enforcement, Sutter was a staple in the Lansing sports community for more than 50 years.

Rens hopes by speaking out he can encourage more people to come forward.

"It's alright to come forward. Don't worry about what other people say about you or if you feel you're going to be judge about something. Just come forward you've got more courage then keeping it locked up inside of you," Rens said.

Want to see more local news? Visit the FOX47News Website.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox.

Select from these options: Neighborhood News, Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines, and Daily Forecasts.

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Tianna Jenkins

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter