Leviticus 20:10 “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife — with the wife of his neighbor — both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.”
The Michigan State Police (MSP) began investigating Lee Chatfield, 34, for sexual assault after Rebekah Chatfield, 27, filed a complaint with the Lansing Police Department on December 21, 2021. Rebekah accused Lee of sexually assaulting her starting when she was 14 or 15 (in 2009 or 2010) — and ending in July 2021 when she was 26. The MSP has completed its investigation and has handed over its discoveries to MI's Attorney General Dana Nessel.
The MSP made no public recommendation. But the duration of the investigation, plus the fact there was something to turn over, suggests there is evidence of a crime.
Chatfield himself may have confessed to a crime. He did not deny the sex. But said it had been a consensual “affair”. However, the age of consent in Michigan is 16 unless the perpetrator is a teacher at the same school the victim attends. Then it is 18. And Lee was a teacher — as well as coach and athletic director — at the school, Northern Michigan Christian Academy in Burt Lake, where the teen-aged Rebekah was enrolled.
The sharp-eyed reader will notice the alleged criminal and his victim have the same last name. This is so because Rebekah is married to Lee’s brother, Aaron. There is no official word on how Aaron feels about Lee cuckolding his brother. But Aaron, being a mensch, has stood up for his wife.
During his “affair” Lee was elected to the Michigan State House and became the state’s youngest-ever Speaker in 2019. During his political years, he vehemently opposed expanding the reach of the state’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. He said it was an infringement on his religious freedom. To say his moral code is ‘inconsistent’ is charitable. So let us call Lee what he is. A sanctimonious toad who uses his religion to club people he has never met and who have done him no harm - while praying for God to forgive him for being a statutory rapist.
If he is praying. Maybe, he thinks attacking children is his divine right. We should ask his wife how she feels about one of their five children meeting a similar monster.
Rebekah’s lawyer, Jamie White, was clear about the asymmetrical nature of the relationship and Lee’s disregard for social customs regarding sex with family members.
“These are allegations that [Lee Chatfield] used his position of power and influence while in the church and school and had an ongoing sexual relationship with this young teenager girl that lasted beyond her teenage years and after [Chatfield’s] brother married her,”
Lee’s lawyer, Mary Chartier of Okemos, issued a statement Friday denying the allegations. As reported by Michigan Advance
“Mr. Chatfield is innocent of the false rape claims made against him,” Chartier said. Adding that Lee Chatfield’s sexual relationship with Rebekah Chatfield was a consensual “affair.”
I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that admitting to statutory rape is an odd defense against a charge of rape.
How did the school react to the news that one of their teachers was seducing a minor? They denied it. A woman who answered the phone at Northern Michigan Christian Academy Monday said, “the school just wants to say that all the criminal allegations are false.” She did not identify herself and would not provide further comment on the allegations.
How she knew the allegations were false, I do not know. But it is not unknown for people to deal with harsh truths by sticking their heads in the sand.
Part of the school’s reluctance to admit that the charges may have some merit can be traced to the fact that the school’s pastor, superintendent, and history teacher is Lee Chatfield’s father, the Rev. Stanley “Rusty” Chatfield III. Rusty has also denied the charges.
Teachers are often in an advantageous position to assault their students. The young look to them as authority figures second only to their parents. Young minds have trouble understanding that people they trust can be evil.
I will let Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, an attorney with Deland, Fla.-based law firm Boz Law who represents victims of sexual abuse in evangelical circles explain.
“So many of these offenders, especially in youth groups and teachers, know how to exploit that power in a way that gains the trust of the victim. The purpose of that relationship on the offender side is not to be a positive mentor and helper to that young person, but it’s to grow that to the point where they can then begin engaging in sexual acts. … There’s no such thing as a teacher having an affair with his or her students. It’s abusive conduct. It’s criminal conduct.”
And there you have it. I do not know if those who profess to be people of faith commit crimes with the same or more frequency as the non-religious. But I am pretty sure that moral religious people would remain moral if they became atheists. And no matter how much people claim that God is a force for morality, immoral people act immorally, no matter how many Bibles they thump.