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Last week, a Michigan woman came forward to accuse her brother-in-law, the state’s former speaker of the House of Representatives, of sexually abusing her when she was his teenage student at a private Baptist school run by his family.
Former students now tell The Daily Beast that the family’s school was a “cult-like” institution where spanking and forced chores kept students in line, where women were trained to be subservient to men, and where at least one former student had to publicly apologize to the congregation for accusing a boy of rape.
Last week, Rebekah Chatfield, 26, told nonprofit news outlet Bridge Michigan that her husband’s brother, former politician Lee Chatfield, began abusing her around 2010, when she was 15 or 16, and that the Republican former lawmaker continued to groom and rape her until 2021. (Mary Chartier, a lawyer for 33-year-old Lee, denied Rebekah’s allegations and claimed they had a consensual “years-long adult relationship,” which Chartier described as one of several of Lee’s extramarital affairs.)
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