A 27-year-old woman said to be the sister-in-law of former Michigan state House Speaker Lee Chatfield, accused him of sexually assaulting her multiple times, starting when she was 14 or 15 years old. State police launched an investigation into the matter on Thursday, January 6. The woman filed a criminal complaint with the Lansing Police Department, which then referred it to the state police.
The allegations of sexual assault first reported by Lansing City Pulse were confirmed by the woman's lawyer, Jamie White. He noted that Chatfield started molesting her a decade ago and continued until last year.
According to White, Chatfield began sexually assaulting the woman when she was 14 or 15 years old and attended the Northern Michigan Christian Academy near Burt Lake, about 60 miles northeast of Traverse City. Chatfield's father is the pastor of the church and the administrator for the school.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Chatfield, 33, was the athletic director at the school between 2010 and 2014. He left the house in 2020 after completing the term.
White said that his client did what she had to do. "She went to the immediate jurisdiction that she thought was appropriate," he said. He further noted that his client and her family are 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," he said.
Previous encounters with the law
Chatfield is the youngest House speaker in more than a century. He was amongst the seven Michigan GOP lawmakers who met with then-President Donald Trump at the White House when he tried to overturn Joe Biden's win.
This is not Chatfield's first encounter with law enforcement. He was arrested at the Pellston Airport in northern Michigan while trying to bring a loaded handgun onto an airplane during his time in the legislature. He, however, did not face any criminal charges over the incident but was fined by the Transportation Security Administration for having an unregistered firearm.
Chatfield was not available for a comment on the matter.