Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield faces more potential serious trouble

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 17:34:21-05

(WXYZ) — We’re learning more about multiple investigations into former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield.

He is 33, married with 5 children, and on Friday through his attorney in a statement admitted to having multiple affairs he called consensual. He denied allegations of criminal sexual conduct.

His sister-in-law tells police she was sexually assaulted over ten years starting when she was 15 or 16 inside the Northern Michigan Christian Academy in Cheboygan County. She was a student. Lee Chatfield was a teacher and soccer coach. Chatfield’s father is the Pastor.

New areas of investigation center on Chatfield while Speaker of the House. That ended in 2020.

His accusers also include his own brother, the husband. Both spoke with Bridge Michigan.

The sister-in-law says she spoke out so that other women will speak up.

At the age of 15 or 16, her relationship with Lee Chatfield, 7 years older, her religious teacher, and when the assaults allegedly started are key.

“Michigan law makes it very clear that if a victim is under the age of 16, and in a situation where one has authority over another like in a student-teacher situation. That's a criminal sexual conduct in the first degree punishable by up to life in prison,” says Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.

Chatfield's brother tells Bridge Michigan that he was his brother’s driver as Speaker of the House and they would make late-night trips to Detroit to go to the Legends strip club and to the Shinola Hotel for hookups with women inside and outside of government including a former staffer.

Bill Ballenger has been covering Michigan politics for decades and tells 7 Action News, “I can't imagine how far the ripples are going to spread, as more facts come out.”

Late last week a directive was sent to all Michigan House members telling them to preserve any “documents, files, information” related to Speaker Chatfield’s conduct in office and use of his office resources.

“How much of this was actually known by members in the chamber or other people in Lansing and papered over hushed up or what?” Ballenger says.

A Facebook page from a year ago may have been set up in a run by Chatfield for Governor. It contains the words faith, family, service. He could be facing misconduct in office or more.

“If somebody is helping themselves to the, to the coffers, to the till, that potentially is an embezzlement crime and that can be punishable by as much as 20 years in prison,” says Prosecutor Leyton.

This investigation could take months and involve the state and the feds.