Michigan Youth Referee Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to the Sexual Assault of Minors

Close-up Of Whistle With Red And Yellow Card On The Field

On Monday, September 18th, youth sports official Gerald Allen Sutter was sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison for first degree criminal sexual assault and 71 months to 15 years for second degree criminal sexual assault. Nearly one year ago, in October 2022, Sutter was first arraigned on charges of first and third degree criminal sexual assault, which occurred at Sutter’s home residence and involved a minor male. The victim-survivor was 16 years old at the time of the abuse. Shortly thereafter, Ingham County Sherrif’s Office indicated in a news release that Sutter had likely victimized many other young boys throughout his tenure as an official and urged those affected to come forward.

Prior to his arrest, Sutter worked in youth sports across Mid-Michigan for 50 years and officiated a variety of different athletic activities, the participants of which ranged from early childhood through college-level. We now know Sutter used his position of authority to gain the trust of young children and teens, later subjecting many of them to grooming tactics and sexual assault. When Sutter, now 71 years old, appeared for his sentencing hearing on Monday, he faced multiple survivors in-person and several others via Zoom. During an in-court statement at the hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court, a mother of one victim-survivor explained Sutter exposed these boys to “years and years of torture.” At the same hearing on Monday, several other survivors presented their own impact statements, referring to Sutter as a “despicable” predator and conveying remorse for having not reported Sutter’s abuse at an earlier time.

The trauma-informed attorneys and support staff at Grewal Law agree with the presiding judge of Sutter’s criminal case, who coined it as “a testament to the strength and courage and resiliency of people” that so many “brave” and “strong” survivors “[rose] above what [Sutter] did to them” and came forward to tell their stories.

If you are a victim-survivor of Gerald Allen Sutter and need to speak to an attorney, please contact Grewal Law, PLLC, at (517) 393-3000.

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