Michigan House of Representatives
Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering.
The attorney for Rebekah Chatfield, who alleges she was repeatedly sexually abused
when she was a teenager by her brother-in-law, former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield, fired back at the ex-lawmaker’s wife for “blaming the victim.”
In a statement
released Thursday, Stephanie Chatfield’s attorney acknowledged “there is no question” Chatfield’s husband had a decade-long affair with his sister-in-law, but insisted the relationship was “consensual” and occurred when she was an adult.
She accused Rebekah Chatfield of inventing the allegations in a scheme to “become a millionaire and film her documentary.”
"The Chatfield family is working through the pain as a family that Mr. Chatfield has caused, and Mrs. Chatfield unconditionally supports Mr. Chatfield as he asks for forgiveness and works to make amends with those he has so deeply hurt," lawyer Matt Newburg said in a statement on behalf of Stephanie Chatfield. "However, Mrs. Chatfield now feels compelled to defend her family."
Rebekah Chatfield’s attorney Jamie White said Stephanie Chatfield “is responding to rape allegations against her husband in a traditional way: by blaming the victim, calling her delusional and promiscuous and implying that a girl below the age of consent invited her own abuse.”
“It is a well-established fact that the vast majority of victims of childhood sexual abuse hesitate to come forward for years, and Stephanie Chatfield’s lengthy screed is a classic, textbook illustration of the reasons why,” White said late Thursday afternoon. “When victims summon the courage to come forward, the pain of their abuse is too typically followed by the additional pain of being shamed, called insane, called liars, or in this case, some combination of all of the above.”
White added, “My client would like to express compassion for everything Stephanie Chatfield and her family must be going through during revelations of serial infidelity, a criminal investigation, and a financial misdeeds investigation.”
Rebekah Chatfield alleges her brother-in-law began sexually assaulting her when she was 15 years old.
Michigan State Police are investigating the sexual abuse allegations and claims of financial misconduct by the former lawmaker.
On Tuesday morning, state police executed a search warrant
at the home of a couple that served as top aides to Chatfield.
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