DELTA COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) — Prosecutors from the Upper Peninsula and Muskegon are hoping women who were victims of sexual assault by a former teacher as long as 50 years ago will come forward.
Morgan Tatrow, the man accused of criminal sexual conduct against children, was a teacher for 30 years in Muskegon County.
Now, another half-dozen women have come forward saying they were molested by the elementary school teacher who retired in 1992 from the Reeths-Puffer School District.
Brett Gardner was an assistant prosecutor in Muskegon County who took the job in Escanaba as the Delta County prosecutor.
One of his first cases was reviewing the case against Tatrow, a township supervisor who was accused of second-degree criminal sexual conduct that was in the process of being pleaded down to a misdemeanor.
But Gardner put a stop to that and says he is re-instating the felony charges against Tatrow and believes he has other victims from his time in Muskegon County.
After 24 Hour News 8 reported the story, six more women contacted Gardner’s former boss in Muskegon, DJ Hilson, and reported that they were victims of the former teacher.
“It dates back to the 1960s with information indicating abuse may have continued into the 80s,” Gardner said.
The women coming forward now say they were abused when they were younger than 13 years old, according to prosecutors.
“There are more victims, they either just not have had the opportunity to hear about the allegations and have not come forward yet,” Garder said.
Police say victims tend to come forward when they hear of other victims. They want the women to get the services they can receive from victim services and support from other victims.
Even though the statute of limitations applies in old cases, their stories can be useful to the prosecution in showing a pattern of behavior.
“As more information gets out we might find more victims,” Gardner said.
Tatrow is also accused of abusing a step-granddaughter in Texas and the information in Michigan could go to bolster that case.
Anyone who believes they are victims can contact the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office at 231.724.6435 or Delta County at 906.789.5100.