Former Speaker of the Chatfield House charged with sexual assault

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LANSING – Michigan State Police are investigating allegations of sexual assault involving former Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, according to a lawyer representing the plaintiff.

Okemos’ attorney, Jamie White, said Chatfield had sex with a girl who started around 11 years ago, when she was around 15, and ended recently. The sexual contact began when Chatfield was working at a school and church the complainant attended near his home in northern Michigan, White said.

Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Banner confirmed the department will investigate Chatfield after the Lansing Police Department referred a complaint to the state agency. She declined to provide details on the allegation, but referred to an article in Lansing City Pulse, which first reported on the allegations against Chatfield.

Chatfield could not be reached for comment Thursday.

White previously shown dozens of women sexually assaulted by former gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar in lawsuit against Michigan State University and still represents men pursue the University of Michigan who say they were sexually assaulted by former trainer Robert Anderson.

He said Thursday there were other allegations against Chatfield. These include charges related to embezzlement of public funds while he was in the Legislative Assembly. He declined to elaborate except to say that the allegations relate to certain expenses.

“It requires an important look,” in terms of a police investigation, he said.

The Free Press does not normally identify alleged victims of sexual assault and does not name the complainant.

Following:Photos of Shirkey and Chatfield displayed at Trump’s hotel in Washington

Following:Lee Chatfield quits new job after declining LGBTQ politics

Chatfield, a 33-year-old Republican from Levering, was first elected to State House in 2014. At the time, he was a teacher at the small private religious school where his father was an administrator.

In the summer of 2018, Chatfield apologized after security at a northern Michigan airport discovered a loaded handgun in his carry-on baggage. He then paid a fine.

He became the youngest Speaker of the House in state history when he assumed the role in 2019.

During Chatfield’s two years as a speaker, the House passed a broad auto insurance reform agenda and widely announced bipartisan criminal justice bills.

Chatfield makes national headlines at the end of his term when he was summoned to the White House at the end of November 2020 by an irate President Donald Trump.

As Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey R-Clark Lake said as they focused on the COVID-19 request for relief at the meeting, Trump then tweeted a false allegation of fraud mass electoral campaign in the state regarding their visit to the White House.

After stepping down due to the length of the tenure, Chatfield was briefly hired as the head of Southwest Michigan First, a Kalamazoo-based economic development company. But he was forced to resign just days after taking the job, in response to strong corporate reluctance to his long-standing legislative efforts to prevent the addition of new legal protections for LGBTQ workers and residents.

Contact Dave Boucher at dboucher@freepress.com or 313-938-4591. Follow him on Twitter @ Dave_Boucher1.

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