A longtime Michigan sports referee was arrested and charged with allegedly sexually assaulting a boy — and authorities fear he may have more victims.
Gerald Allen Sutter, who officiated boys’ and girls’ sports for five decades, is accused of assaulting a minor male victim from 2019 through 2021 inside the 70-year-old’s Lansing Township home, authorities said Wednesday.
The arrest comes after information was received by authorities that “a well-known athletic official for youth sports … was preying on young athletes,” the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
After the probe quickly got underway and Sutter’s home was searched Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said it believes there could be “numerous” additional victims and the cases could span over decades.
The alleged predator, known as “Dewey” in the local sports circuit, mostly umped baseball and softball and traveled across the state officiating different sporting events from youth sports to college athletics, the sheriff’s office said.
“It appears in this case unfortunately Mr. Sutter was using that role to groom his victim,” said Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said during a press conference, according to WXYZ-TV.
Sutter faces three counts of criminal sexual conduct and is currently remanded to the county jail.
The sheriff’s office encouraged other possible victims to come forward.
“We want to assure any person willing to come forward to provide information will be treated with dignity and respect,” the sheriff’s office vowed. “This investigation will be thorough and objective in our pursuit of justice.”
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