Fremont PD chief accused of ‘unwanted touching’

Michigan

FREMONT, Mich. (WOOD) — The Fremont police chief is under investigation, accused of touching a woman inappropriately while on a trip with the Fraternal Order of Police.

The trip took place in June as a group traveled to see a Detroit Tigers baseball game. A woman reported instances of “unwanted touching” from Fremont Police Chief Randall Wright.

Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Ed Doyle confirmed the criminal sexual conduct investigation but released few details Monday, citing a pending decision from prosecutors.

“I have an investigation that’s ongoing right now,” he told News 8.

Doyle said the victim alleges the incidents happened on a bus trip. He said MSP has made contact with the 31 people who were on the bus at the time.

Police reports have been sent to prosecutors in Kent and Ingham counties, where the bus was believed to be when the incidents happened.

Reached by phone Monday, Wright declined to answer questions.

“I really have no comment,” he told News 8.

When asked if he wanted to comment on whether he touched anyone inappropriately on the trip, the chief responded, “nope.”

Fremont City Manager Todd Blake, the chief’s boss, was blindsided by news of the allegations when reached by News 8 Monday. Blake said he was unaware of the investigation and needed to confer with the chief about the situation.

Later, Blake said he spoke with the chief who told him the situation was a “personal issue.”

Blake said the chief remained on duty and that he had no plans to change the chief’s status until he learns criminal charges have been filed. As of late Monday afternoon, Blake said he had not spoken with the Michigan State Police regarding the investigation. He said he remained hopeful that the allegations against the chief are not true.

Fremont Mayor James Rynberg said he is awaiting a decision from prosecutors before drawing any conclusions. 

“I have full faith in our chief of police,” Rynberg told News 8 over the phone. “I can’t understand the charge. … There must be a huge misunderstanding.”

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said his office received reports of the incident Thursday but had not yet made a conclusion as to whether charges would be filed. A spokesperson for Ingham County’s prosecutor said no charges had been filed against Wright as of Monday afternoon.

Wright has been police chief in Fremont for several years. He served the department in other capacities for many years prior to becoming chief.

The Fraternal Order of Police Ben Bradford Lodge #135 organized the trip.

“Shortly after an event that our lodge took part in we were informally told that an allegation had been made regarding some activity that had taken place during the event,” Bryan Kolk, the lodge president, told News 8, reading from a prepared statement. “The State Police conducted the investigation regarding this allegation. Our membership provided full cooperation to them. We deeply regret that anyone involved with this event had an experience that made them feel like a victim.”

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