A outstanding former union lobbyist has been charged with sexually assaulting a girl at a Kalamazoo fundraiser final yr.
On Thursday, Michigan Legal professional Normal Dana Nessel, a Democrat, introduced that her workplace had charged Jonathan Byrd, 40, of Battle Creek with one depend of fourth diploma Prison Sexual Conduct.
Byrd had been president of the South Central Michigan AFL-CIO chapter till his resignation in late March when the alleged incident got here to mild. He additionally resigned from his place as director of exterior affairs for the Michigan Laborers’ District Council, of the Laborers’ Worldwide Union of North America (LiUNA).
Nessel mentioned Byrd is alleged to have forcibly moved the sufferer’s hand onto his penis at a social gathering in Kalamazoo County in April 2022.
In line with a press launch, whereas Byrd and the sufferer labored in the identical discipline, he held an influential place each within the Capitol and throughout Michigan that offered what was described as “a big energy imbalance” between he and the sufferer.
“Within the state of Michigan we’ll maintain sexual predators accountable irrespective of how well-connected they’re and regardless of no matter prominence they take pleasure in within the dealings of our authorities,” said Nessel.
The incident additionally led to accusations by some Republican lawmakers that state Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) had tried to cowl up the incident. They held a press convention in Could.
Haadsma is chair of the Home Labor Committee, the place Byrd testified in March on colleges collective bargaining laws, and brokered a gathering between Byrd and the sufferer in his legislation workplace previous to her reporting the incident to police.
Nevertheless, Haadsma mentioned he was not conscious that any bodily assault had taken place and that the dispute was purely verbal in nature, which was later confirmed by police throughout their investigation.
Home Republicans need Haadsma to lose chairmanship amid claims he ‘lined up’ sexual assault
“I attempted to be useful and supportive based mostly on the data shared with me on the time,” Haadsma mentioned in Could. “After I later realized of the main points, I used to be stunned and anxious for the girl who got here ahead to report her expertise to legislation enforcement. I shared all I knew of the allegations in opposition to Jon Byrd with the police.”
Some Republicans have known as for Haadsma to lose his chairmanship.
“It appears clear Rep. Haadsma was working to cowl up the deplorable acts of a union lobbyist to maintain it out of the general public’s view,” Rep. Angela Rigas (R-Caledonia) mentioned in Could. “Permitting him to proceed to steer the Home’s Labor Committee after this misguided and coercive motion is unacceptable. Representatives have been faraway from committees for much much less.”
A courtroom date for Byrd has but to be scheduled.
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