FREMONT, Mich. (WOOD) — The woman claiming she was inappropriately touched by the Fremont police chief said the longtime officer was drunk and belligerent when the incidents occurred.
The alleged victim reported to Michigan State Police that Fremont Police Chief Randall Wright touched her in an unwanted and sexual manner while the two rode a bus back to Fremont from an outing with the Fraternal Order of Police in June.
The FOP organized a trip to Detroit where members watched a Tigers baseball game. The alleged victim said there was no trouble on the way to Detroit but after the game, the trip back was a different story.
The woman claiming the chief victimized her said Wright was drunk and touching some of the women on the bus inappropriately. While most people on the bus were law enforcement officers or their spouses, the alleged victim and her husband were not.
She said the chief seemed to fixate on her.
“He was commenting about my body — made sexual comments about what he would like to do to me sexually,” the alleged victim told News 8 Monday.
The alleged victim said the chief had smacked some of the trip attendees’ rear ends. Trying to avoid giving Wright the opportunity to do the same to her, the alleged victim said she avoided walking in front of the chief at one point when people on the bus were moving. She said she allowed the chief to pass in front of her. But Wright was undeterred, she said.
“He reached back with his hand and he grabbed my private area aggressively,” she said.
At another time the alleged victim said the chief approached her from behind and rubbed himself against her in such a way that she could feel his genitals pressing on her back side as he made sexual comments.
The woman said she shoved Wright at that time in another of many attempts to rebuff his advances.
“It was aggressive,” she said of Wright’s behavior.
MSP confirmed that a criminal sexual conduct investigation involving allegations of “unwanted touching” was underway. Officials would not disclose details of the case given the pending possibility of criminal charges.
Sgt. Ed Doyle said the investigative reports have been forwarded to prosecutors in Kent and Ingham counties where the bus was believed to be traveling at the time of the allegations.
Doyle said police conducted an extensive investigation and contacted the 31 people said to have been on board the bus.
Wright said she contacted police immediately following the trip and was ultimately directed to speak with Doyle from the Michigan State Police Lakeview post to avoid any conflicts of interest with officers who know Wright.
Wright has held his position in Fremont for several years, prompted to chief after serving the department for many years prior. He declined speak with News 8 about the allegations and responded “nope” when asked over the phone if he would comment on whether he touched anyone inappropriately during the trip.
The alleged victim said she did not get drunk during the trip, but she said Wright was severely intoxicated. She claimed that he was observed drinking an entire fifth of liquor.
“That is no excuse for behavior,” she said. “I’ve known many men in my life that have been highly intoxicated, and they’ve never been sexually inappropriate with women.”
Prior to the bus trip, the alleged victims said she and her husband were friendly with Wright and his wife and had spent time with them as a couple.
Wright has the support of city leaders who seemed to question the veracity of the claims made against the chief.
Fremont City Manager Todd Blake said he did not know about the investigation or allegations until he was contacted by News 8. He said he had no intentions on changing the chief’s work status unless criminal charges were authorized. He said he remained hopeful that the allegations were false.
Fremont Mayor James Rynberg said he learned of the allegations Monday after he was briefed by Blake. The mayor was explicit about his position.
“I support our chief of police,” Rynberg said. “I have full faith in our chief of police…”
The mayor said he has “full faith” in the officials handling the investigation into the allegations and awaits the final outcome.
Prosecutors in Kent and Ingham counties had not filed charges as of Monday. Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said his office got the reports last Thursday and had yet to complete a determination on whether charges would be filed.
The alleged victim said she fears the chief may have victimized other women. She said she wants Wright criminally charged and removed from his role as the city’s police chief.
“It’s about standing up,” she said. “And saying when things aren’t OK — when things are not acceptable.”