• State police have turned the investigation into former House Speaker Lee Chatfield over to Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office
  • The investigation stems from allegations that Chatfield sexually assaulted his daughter-in-law when she was a teenage student where he taught
  • Chatfield scandal-related political spending ethics reforms still await lawmakers’ vote

Michigan State Police have turned over their criminal investigation into former House Speaker Lee Chatfield to Attorney General Dana Nessel, but a police spokesman cautioned that the handover does not mean the investigation is over.

State police spent months investigating allegations of sexual assault against Chatfield and his financial dealings while in office. Lt. Derrick Carroll confirmed the transfer to Bridge Michigan on Thursday, saying “we are no longer investigating this case.”

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Amber McCann, a spokeswoman for Nessel, declined to comment on the show but said Friday that the investigation into Chatfield is “still open and ongoing.”

The transfer, first reported by the Detroit News, marks a new phase in the investigation that began after Chatfield’s daughter-in-law, Rebecca Chatfield, 27, came forward with allegations that the 34-year-old former House speaker sexually assaulted her over a period of more than over ten years, starting when she was a teenager and a student at Burt Lake Church and the private school where he taught and coached.

Rebecca Chatfield said Bridge Michigan as well as police last December, Lee Chatfield took advantage of his influence at church and school and her vulnerable upbringing to marry and repeatedly assault her, starting when she was a 15- or 16-year-old student at Northern Michigan Christian Academy, run by Lee’s father , Rusty Chatfield. Rebecca later married Lee’s younger brother, Aaron, who went to school with her. Aaron Chatfield also described to Bridge his brother’s lavish spending while in office, which also caught the attention of investigators.

Lee Chatfield, who is married, has denied sexually abusing Rebecca Chatfield, although he has admitted having sex with her and others, which he said was consensual. He also denied any financial wrongdoing.

Rebecca Chatfield’s attorney did not return calls for comment.

The police investigation, sparked by the sexual assault allegations, later expanded to include Chatfield’s financial dealings while in office, something that long puzzled Lansing. As Bridge and the Michigan Network of Company Financing One nonprofit affiliated with Chatfield, the Peninsula Fund, has reportedly spent nearly half a million dollars on travel and food in 2020 alone.

Aaron Chatfield told Bridge that his older brother was “away all the time” on trips and often used Aaron to drive him to strip clubs and to meet women.

The police investigation into the sexual and financial allegations involved numerous searches of homes and workplaces associated with Chatfield and people in his sphere of activity. Police targets are on Chatfield House, private school where he previously worked, at Aaron Chatfield mobile phone and Bath Township is the home of two close Chatfield politicians associates, Anne and Rob Minard.

Carroll, the state police spokesman, would not say what led the agency to turn the investigation over to Nessel’s office in August, or comment on any findings. He referred additional questions to Nessel’s office, which declined to comment.

In a statement to Bridge, Chatfield’s lawyer, Mary Chartier, called the handover to police “normal and expected,” while maintaining that Chatfield “vehemently denies” the allegations of assault and financial crimes.

Michigan lawmakers are still debating the set proposed lobbying and ethics reforms put forward in response to the Chatfield scandal.

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