The lady who accused former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield of a number of sexual assaults since she was a young person was revealed to be his personal sister-in-law.
Rebekah Chatfield, who’s married to the politician’s youthful brother, claims the previous speaker assaulted her “extra instances than I can depend” starting when she was 15 years outdated greater than a decade in the past.
Rebekah, now 26, filed the prison grievance with the Lansing Police Division towards Lee, 33, she stated in a number of interviews with Bridge Michigan.
The assaults allegedly started when she dated the politician’s youthful brother and continued till 2021, she advised the outlet.
“He destroyed me, and has managed my life since I used to be 15-16, the previous 10-11 years,” she stated. “And I do know the one method to get justice for that is to come back ahead and to file a prison (grievance) towards him.”
Lee, a Republican, was the youngest individual to function Speaker of the Home in Michigan in over 100 years. He left workplace in 2020 on account of time period limits.
Rebekah claimed the assaults started when she was 15 or 16 years outdated at Northern Michigan Christian Academy, a non-public faculty in Burt Lake the place Lee taught and coached soccer earlier than he launched his political profession. His father is pastor of the church, the college superintendent and a instructor.
She had reportedly been relationship Lee’s youthful brother, Aaron Chatfield. Rebekah and Aaron have been pushed to marry when at 19, after their households found they have been having intercourse, in line with the report.
Rebekah claimed she saved the incidents secret from her household and husband as a result of she was ashamed and afraid to inform them. Her psychological well being reached a breaking level in December, when she lastly shared her trauma with them and subsequently filed the police report, in line with Bridge.
Rebekah would allegedly keep at Lee’s house usually, and she or he stated the touching started as undesirable gropes within the basement stairwell, ultimately progressing to sexual activity, she advised Bridge. She claimed the assaults continued “extra instances than I can depend.
“I had quite a lot of household stuff happening in my life,” she advised Bridge. “My dad was a recovering alcoholic, and so I imagine that Lee used these (circumstances) towards me and helped reap the benefits of me. So he would manipulate me, he would mess with my feelings.”
With hassle at house, she grew to become extra depending on the Chatfield household, who “ran that complete church and faculty” that had turn into important to her social life, she stated.
“My complete world was the Chatfield household,” she stated. “So if I advised (the Chatfields), that will, that will wreck every part. I couldn’t see what would occur previous then. I didn’t know there was an choice to report. I didn’t know there have been choices for remedy.”
Aaron claimed to recollect his older brother being handsy along with his then-girlfriend after they have been youthful.
“I all the time had questions,” he advised Bridge. “I don’t bear in mind how I requested, I simply bear in mind saying, ‘Is one thing happening between you and Lee?’
“I simply noticed the best way he checked out her.”
Rebekah stated Lee would discover causes to textual content her late at night time, and enter the visitor room and grope her. She stated the sexual assaults when she stayed at Lee’s house grew to become extra frequent, ultimately culminating in intercourse. Every time she would break up with Aaron, she stated Lee would coax them again collectively.
The psychological abuse wore her down, she stated, and she or he stopped resisting.
“After I was in my darkest place, I didn’t know what else to do, and he continued to remind me that I didn’t have, actually, anybody else however him,” she stated.
Rebekah’s mom, Debbie Newberry, claimed to have seen a change in her daughter’s conduct in her later teenage years as Lee allegedly started to groom her daughter.
Rebekah and Aaron have been engaged in June 2014 and married two months later, in line with Bridge. Neither of the 19-year olds have been ready for marriage, and had second ideas, the report stated.
The night time earlier than the marriage, whereas Rebekah was crying inside the Chatfield’s house, she alleged Lee provided to consolation her, earlier than forcing her right into a closet for a intercourse act.
“After he completed he stated, ‘Don’t fear. I’ll speak to Aaron, you guys are getting married.’” Rebekah Chatfield advised Bridge. “And he walked out.”
After Rebekah and Aaron have been married, the affair allegedly continued whereas the 2 went off to separate faculties. She recalled one time the place Lee allegedly visited along with his spouse and two youngsters, “And through my husband’s soccer sport,” she stated, “he took me again to my home and assaulted me.”
Aaron give up faculty earlier to assist his brother’s political profession. He claimed to Bridge that he’d labored in Lansing as Lee’s driver and would take the rising politician to strip golf equipment and to satisfy with varied girls, together with a former staffer.
“Lee portrays himself as a household custom, conservative man who believes within the Bible and the Bible is so necessary,” stated Aaron, 26. “No, it couldn’t be farther from who my man was as an individual.”
On one event two years in the past, Rebekah stated she and Aaron have been visiting Lee’s workplace when he requested Aaron to go decide up a pizza. Lee pressured her into undesirable intercourse in a separate room earlier than his brother returned, she alleged.
Since Aaron discovered about his brother’s years of assault on his spouse in December, he has been supportive of his spouse and is assured she is telling the reality, he alleged.
“I’m rethinking each dialog I ever had with Lee,” Aaron reportedly stated.
The ache, he stated, “goes very deep,” calling his older brother “the individual I appeared as much as most on the planet.”
Lee’s father, Rusy Chatfield, who based the church and faculty the place his son taught advised Bridge “the allegations are false.”
Paul Chatfield, one other youthful brother who additionally labored with Lee in politics, stated he believes Lee engaged in “inappropriate conduct” with Rebekah however questions her timeline.
“What she is saying, I don’t imagine,” Paul Chatfield stated, including that “the best-case situation is, I’m dissatisfied” in his brother.
Rebekah acknowledged to the Bridge that at instances it was she who initiated contact with Lee, however denied that it was consensual.
“…it was by no means consensual, as a result of it began once I was a minor — the brainwashing, the mentality, the manipulation, the psychological, the emotional — he groomed me into being who he wished me to be.”
Lee has not commented on the accusations, however his lawyer Mary Chartier advised The Bridge in an announcement that each have been “consenting adults” within the relationship.
“Their affair lasted for years, however they have been each consenting adults,” she stated. “Mr. Chatfield deeply regrets the choices he has made. It has induced nice ache to his spouse and household, and they’re working via this collectively. However he didn’t assault this girl in any method throughout their years-long grownup relationship. He intends to vigorously struggle these false claims.”
Beneath Michigan regulation, the age of consent in 16, nonetheless it’s unlawful for academics to have any kind of penetrative intercourse with a pupil underneath the age of 18.
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