Accused Sparta councilman a no-show at meeting

Kent County

SPARTA, Mich. (WOOD) — The village of Sparta councilman charged with accosting a child for sex did not show up for duty at Monday’s council meeting.

Ryan Hayes, 34, was arrested Sept. 25 in an FBI sting that allegedly caught him trying to carry out a sexual encounter with an officer who he thought was a child, officials told 24 Hour News 8. Hayes has bonded out of jail.

He so far maintains his appointed position on the village council and is running unopposed for the seat on the November ballot.

“At this point, the village doesn’t possess the statutory authority to remove a member based on criminal charges,” Council President Kristi Dougan told reporters after the meeting.

Dougan hesitated a bit when asked if she was surprised by the allegations against Hayes.

“It certainly could be a surprise for anyone in any sort of criminal case,” she said. “Certainly isn’t anything that you do want to hear as far as charges against a sitting member.”

She said she had not spoken to Hayes since his arrest and doesn’t know why he missed the Monday night meeting, though he did alert village staff that he would not be there.

“He was simply absent,” Dougan said. “He said he was not going to be attending.”

Dougan said she hasn’t come up with a position on whether she will ask Hayes to step down.

“At this point in time, I don’t really have a consideration of that,” she said

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