Jonathan Byrd, a distinguished former union lobbyist chief in Michigan, pleaded responsible on Friday to aggravated assault in a Kalamazoo court docket after being accused of sexual assault of a feminine colleague at a social occasion in April 2022.
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).
The Michigan Legal professional Common’s workplace filed a cost of fourth-degree felony sexual conduct in June and Byrd took a settlement settlement Friday to plead to aggravated assault as an alternative. Legal professional Common Dana Nessel mentioned there may be an accompanying sentencing settlement that asks the choose to condemn Byrd to 90 days incarceration.
“Right now’s responsible plea and upcoming sentencing will put a predator behind bars,” mentioned Nessel. “I’m grateful for our prosecutors who held accountable a public determine, and particularly for the sufferer whose bravery might put an finish to at least one man’s predation of younger ladies in politics. My workplace will proceed to hunt justice for victims of assault no matter how well-connected their assailant could also be.”
The Legal professional Common’s Workplace mentioned that Byrd forcibly moved the sufferer’s hand onto his penis. In comparison with the sufferer who labored in the identical fields as him, Byrd had energy and affect within the state, creating “a major energy imbalance” between the lady and Byrd, the workplace mentioned.
When the report got here to mild there have been additionally considerations over who knew concerning the incident.
Earlier than the sufferer went to the police, state Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) had organized a gathering between Byrd and the lady, with Haadsma saying he was unaware that the dispute was over a bodily assault and never a verbal argument. Police confirmed that assertion throughout an investigation.
“I attempted to be useful and supportive primarily based on the knowledge shared with me on the time,” Haadsma mentioned in Could. “After I later realized of the small print, I used to be stunned and anxious for the lady who got here ahead to report her expertise to regulation enforcement.”
Byrd will subsequent seem for sentencing on Jan. 8 within the in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court docket.
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