Longtime HS Ref Faces Sexual Assault Accusation

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A high school referee in Michigan who has worked in youth sports for nearly five decades is facing child sex assault charges. 

Gerald Allen Sutter, 70, is accused of assaulting a boy between 2019 and 2021 at Sutter’s home in Lansing Township, WFIN News reported. Sutter was charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct and booked into the county jail.

Deputies received information about “a well-known athletic official for youth sports” who was “preying on young athletes,” the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Investigators searched Sutter's home.

Authorities said Sutter worked as an umpire for baseball and softball games throughout the state of Michigan and officiated a variety of sporting events ranging from youth sports to college sports. The sheriff’s office fears there are more victims.

“It appears in this case, unfortunately, Mr. Sutter was using that role to groom his victim,” Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said during a news conference, according to a report from WXYZ-TV.

Michigan High School Athletic Association communications director Geoff Kimmerly told WXYZ-TV the organization typically does background checks on its referees from time to time, but Sutter’s never raised any red flags.

“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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