Charges Authorized Against Kent County Commissioner

Posted at 11:08 AM, Nov 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-21 12:35:37-05

rollsGRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A warrant has been authorized against Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls for criminal sexual conduct charges.

A source told FOX 17 News Thursday morning that Rolls will be formally charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct.  He is suspected of sexually assaulting a woman when she was a child.

As of 11:00am Thursday morning, he was being processed in the Kent County Jail.  FOX 17 spoke with Ionia County Prosecutor Ronald Schafer.  He said he was asked to come to Kent County as special counsel because there was a conflict of interest with the Kent County prosecutor’s office.

Since the investigation, which came to light in September of 2012, Rolls had been known to miss a meeting, or several. His attendance history has been pretty spotty the past seven months.

FOX 17 discovered he’d missed six meetings dating back to last September 27th through January 3rd of 2013. It was back in September 2012 when a 28-year-old woman requested a protection order against Rolls for abuse she claims began when she was 12 years old.

In a previous interview, Kent County commissioner Jim Saalfeld told FOX 17 he believed Rolls’ absences might have been due to his legal issues.

“I think the citizens have the right to understand what that means and I think they also have the right to expect their elected commissioner to be at a meeting,” said Saalfeld.

At Thursday’s Kent County Commissioners meeting, Rolls was there, but he showed up late after roll call. He actively listened to discussions from fellow commissioners, but remained quiet, not saying a word. And, as soon as the meeting wrapped up, he split, without a chance for FOX 17 to speak to him.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners office confirmed Rolls has been at every meeting, including the sub committee he sits on, which is the Legislative & Human Resources board, since our investigation, except for that January 3rd session.

Michigan State Police is continuing their investigation into the sexual assault.