Michigan police have arrested a high school referee on sex abuse charges. The referee, who has been identified as Gerald Allen Sutter, worked as referee in both boys’ and girls’ sports for five decades.
Sutter was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one of which involved penetration with an underage male.
The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and the Lansing Township Police Department believe that the reported assaults occurred at the start of 2019 until the end of 2021. The assaults allegedly took place in Sutter’s home.
Sutter, who is also known as “Jerry” and “Dewey,” has been remanded in custody at the Ingham County Jail. Bond has been denied.
Both agencies released a statement saying they received a tip in regard to a “well-known athletic official for youth sports” who was “preying on young athletes” and detectives immediately opened an investigation into the allegations.
“Sutter has been a multi-sport official, both male and female, spanning early childhood sports all the way through college athletics,” authorities said in the release. “Over the past 50 years, Sutter has travelled all over this state officiating athletics but primarily worked in the mid-Michigan area. Anyone that has played or had children who have played sports in this area likely had games officiated by Sutter.”
Michigan High School Athletic Association Communications Director Geoff Kimmerly told WXYZ-TV that the district does regular background checks along with referee verification, however none of Sutter’s checks raised any red flags.
The sheriff’s office have promised to vigorously investigate any further allegations against Sutter.
“We want to assure any person willing to come forward to provide information will be treated with dignity and respect,” the sheriff’s office said. “This investigation will be thorough and objective in our pursuit of justice.”
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