GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Kent County commissioner, up for re-election next month, is under investigation after allegations surfaced he molested a woman when she was a pre-teen.
The county commissioner, Republican Gary Rolls, denied the accusation in a court filing, asking the Personal Protection Order filed by the alleged victim in September be rescinded.
The information was revealed by the Kent County Democratic Party chairperson Jim Rinck. 24 Hour News 8 questioned the source and the timing of this information, then pulled court records and talked to those involved.
Then 24 Hour News 8 confirmed Michigan State Police launched an investigation into these allegations based on information in the Personal Protection Order.
24 Hour News 8 found:
- The victim, now 28, says she was 12 when the first incident happened. She claims Rolls began touching her inappropriately.
- She recounts several more incidents over the years in the court filing.
- She says as she became an adult, Rolls continued to harass her, even though she said she wanted nothing to do with him.
- She filed the order in Muskegon County because that is where she lives.
24 Hour News 8 was told the victim knew nothing about the Kent County Democratic Party's role in releasing the information.
A detective sergeant at the MSP post in Rockford said it is very early in the investigation. There are also questions over the statute of limitations if the allegations are proven.
Nothing has been turned over to the prosecutor for review.
Rolls had not made any statement to police. Neither Rolls nor his attorney have returned calls or emails made by 24 Hour News 8.
Since 2002, Rolls has represented the Fourth District of Kent County, which includes Ada, Cannon, Grattan and Oakfield townships.
Rolls will fight these allegations at a hearing Nov. 8 -- two days after Election Day. That is when a judge will decide whether to rescind the PPO.
Editor's Note: On October 17, 2012, the attorney for Gary Rolls released this statement to the media. This is the entire statement, as written.
PRESS RELEASE - October 17, 2012:
The following is a press release, responding to news accounts of a
personal protection order issued by a Muskegon County Court against Kent County Commissioner, Gary Rolls. This release is made on Mr. Rolls' behalf:
"The allegations made in the petition filed by a Muskegon County woman for a personal protection order (PPO) are categorically denied as untrue by Mr. Rolls. This PPO was issued ex parte, which is a procedural exception to the general rule that would otherwise have allowed Mr. Rolls an opportunity to respond to the allegations before any order was considered.
The allegations themselves are highly suspect. Moreover, the fact that the media became aware of these allegations before any law enforcement agency was even told of them raises serious questions as to this person's underlying motivations.
Mr. Rolls will vigorously defend himself against these allegations. He has served well as a District 4 Kent County Commissioner, and has a deserved reputation as a hard working and well respected citizen and business man in his community. Mr. Rolls is thankful for the continued support of his family, friends, and constituents."
- John M. Kerala, Attorney for Gary Rolls McCroskey Law Offices
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