Anti-LGBTQ Republican accused of sexually assaulting his sister-in-law
An extremely anti-LGBTQ former lawmaker has been accused by a family member of child molestation, with the alleged victim – who is now an adult – saying that the sexual abuse lasted for over a decade.
Republican Lee Chatfield, 33, was the youngest person to serve as speaker of the Michigan House. He stepped down in 2020 and left the state legislature due to term limits. Now his sister-in-law says that he sexually assaulted her when she was just 15-years-old, starting before his career in politics and continuing until after he was out of office.
The woman filed a criminal complaint with the Lansing Police Department. In the complaint, she said that she attended Northern Michigan Baptist Bible Church and the Northern Michigan Christian Academy School. Chatfield’s father Rusty was the pastor at that church and an administrator at the school, and Chatfield himself was a teacher at the school at the time.
The alleged victim said that the assault started when she was at student at that school and Chatfield was a teacher, around the year 2010. She said that the assault continued until July 2021. She is now 27-years-old.
A spokesperson for the city of Lansing said that the case has been transferred to the Michigan State Police for investigation. The Michigan State Police confirmed that they are investigating the allegations but declined to provide details.
The victim has hired attorney Jamie White, the same lawyer who represented dozens of women who accused Michigan State University gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar of sexual assault and men who accused former trainer Robert Anderson of sexual assault at the University of Michigan.
White said that there are other accusations being made against Chatfield, including misappropriation of public funds.
According to the Lansing City Pulse, Chatfield left his job as a teacher and soccer coach at the Northern Michigan Christian Academy School to run for the state house in 2014. He challenged moderate Republican Frank Foster in the primary, focusing on Foster’s support for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s civil rights law as protected classes.
This is not the first time Chatfield has had trouble with the law. In 2018, he tried to bring a loaded gun on a plane but it was found in his carry-on bag at an airport in northern Michigan. He later apologized and paid a fine, saying it was an “inexcusable mistake.”
After leaving the state legislature, Chatfield got a leadership position at the economic development firm Southwest Michigan First. But just a few days after he started his job there, he was forced to resign as corporations criticized one of his biggest achievements in government: preventing LGBTQ people from having civil rights.