“The department is assisting the Michigan State Police as they continue their investigation,” Lynsey Mukomel said. Mukomel declined to comment further, citing an open investigation.
The investigation stems from allegations made by Chatfield’s sister-in-law, Rebekah Chatfield, who told Bridge and police in December that the former Speaker of the House groomed her and then repeatedly sexually assaulted her from the when he was a teacher and she was 15 or 16 years old. – alumnus of Northern Michigan Christian Academy, a school in Burt Lake founded by Lee Chatfield’s father, Rusty Chatfield.
Lee Chatfield, through his lawyer, denied the assault allegations, instead saying he and Rebekah Chatfield, now 26, had a year-long consensual affair when they were both adults.
Rebekah Chatfield’s lawyer, Jamie White, welcomed the news of Nessel’s involvement as a “relief”, noting that it would provide a hub for possible lawsuits stemming from multi-year assault allegations in several jurisdictions.
Rebekah Chatfield told Bridge the assaults began when she was a teenager at school and continued for more than a decade, after she married Lee’s youngest brother Aaron and moved to college. out of state, and after the couple returned to Michigan. when Lee got Aaron a job in Lansing. She told Bridge that it wasn’t until December that she was able to disclose the encounters to others, including her husband, and contact the police.
White said Nessel’s involvement will also protect against “potential conflicts of interest” from local northern Michigan officials, noting that the Emmet County prosecutor chose not to pursue criminal charges after Lee Chatfield brought a loaded handgun to Pellston airport security in 2018.
“I’ve heard multiple reports and concerns that there may be a lack of fair and objective decision-making,” White said. “If I get on a plane with a loaded gun, I go to jail for two years, no questions asked.”
Lee Chatfield’s attorney, in a statement, told Bridge on Monday “it doesn’t matter which prosecutor’s office looks into the case because the facts don’t change.”
“Rebekah Chatfield’s stated goals for 2022 include becoming a millionaire, writing a book and hosting a podcast. She has visions of herself on stage, and she even created a hashtag to promote herself and her self-proclaimed ‘brand,’” attorney Mary Chartier said. “We are confident that any prosecutor who reviews the false allegations will see through them and get the right result.”
In response, White called Chartier’s statement “inappropriate”, meaning that Rebekah Chatfield fabricated her allegations to gain fame or money.
“The idea that someone cannot participate in capitalist society because they have an allegation of child abuse is an affront to the whole atmosphere that created this situation to begin with,” he said. , adding that Chatfield’s goal in coming forward was in part to inspire other young women in similar situations.
“The idea that we’re going to shame her for trying to move on with her life is really, really disturbing,” he said.
White said the investigation by police investigators was not limited to the assault allegations. Police are also looking into Chatfield’s finances during his tenure, he said, looking for possible financial wrongdoing after reports from Bridge and other media raised new questions about fundraising and the Chatfield’s voracious spending.