A high school referee in Michigan was arrested on child sex abuse charges, authorities confirmed.
The referee, identified as Gerald Allen Sutter, worked in boys and girls sports almost 50 years.
Officials said Sutter is accused of assaulting a boy between 2019 and 2021 at Sutter’s Michigan home in Lansing Township.
Deputies said they received information about “a well-known athletic official for youth sports” who was “preying on young athletes,” the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Investigators searched the 70-year-old’s home earlier this week.
The sheriff’s office fears there are more victims.
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Authorities said Sutter worked as an umpire for baseball and softball games throughout the state of Michigan and officiated a variety of sporting events ranging from youth sports to college sports.
“It appears in this case, unfortunately, Mr. Sutter was using that role to groom his victim,” Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said during a press conference, according to a report from WXYZ-TV.
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Michigan High School Athletic Association Communications Director Geoff Kimmerly told WXYZ-TV the organization typically does background checks on its referees from time to time, but Sutter’s never raised any red flags.
Sutter was charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct and booked into the county jail.
The sheriff’s office vowed to investigate any additional claims against Sutter.
“We want to assure any person willing to come forward to provide information will be treated with dignity and respect,” the sheriff’s office said. “This investigation will be thorough and objective in our pursuit of justice.”
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