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Michigan's former House Speaker Lee Chatfield accused of sexual assault

Chatfield pens letter criticizing Whitmer for not warning lawmakers of domestic terror plot
Posted at 9:48 AM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 16:58:20-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan's former Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield is under investigation for sexual assault, Lansing police confirmed on Friday.

The Lansing Police Department said it it received the complaint from a 26-year-old woman in December. Her attorney H. James White identified her at Chatfield's sister in law and said the allegations are "lengthy and quite terrifying."

But Chatfield's attorney Mary Chariter said the relationship was consensual.

"Mr. Chatfield is innocent of the false rape claims made against him," she said. "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."

White says that the sexual abuse began when the woman was just 15 years old. At the time the two were both attending the Northern Michigan Baptist Church and Chatfield was a teacher at the school affiliated with the church.

“She was a vulnerable young woman, and Mr. Chatfield took advantage of those vulnerabilities and ultimately had this...I won't call it a relationship, but this long term pattern of assault did apply here," White said.

The abuse went on for more than a decade.

"The Michigan State Police have become involved at this point, and I believe we'll be leading the investigation," White said. "There are allegations from Sheboygan County, there are allegations and Ingham County and there are allegations in Indiana. So I would not be surprised to see other jurisdictions potentially get involved as well.”

Lansing police began coordinating with Michigan State Police earlier this week.

"The department’s investigations bureau immediately began an investigation," Lansing police public information officer for Robert Merritt said in an email. "Lansing Police Detectives are currently coordinating with Michigan State Police for accusations in jurisdictions outside the city of Lansing."

Michigan State Police confirmed that the department received the complaint earlier this week and it is "under review," according to First District Public Information Officer Lt. Brian Oleksyk.

Both departments declined further comment as the complaint is an active investigation.

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Elle Meyers

Elle Meyers

6:12 PM, Apr 12, 2021

State Capitol

Neighborhood Reporter

Elle Meyers

FOX 47 News Neighborhood Newsletter