Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Commissioner Gary Rolls - Kent County


The investigation of  Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls began in September 2012, when a woman he had victimized for years courageously stepped forward and said: NO MORE.









Kent County Commissioner Improves Attendance Amid Controversy
February 28, 2013
Nicole DiDonato
Fox 17 News
http://fox17online.com/2013/02/28/kent-county-commissioner-improves-attendance-amid-controversy/#axzz2Q7sHsJ8k


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– Investigators are still looking into the case against Kent County commissioner, Gary Rolls. He’s accused of sexually assaulting a woman when she was a child.

Since the investigation, which came to light in September, 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 this year. It was back in September 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 and  Human Resources board, since our investigation, except for that January 3rd session.

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











Commissioner Rolls faces more trouble
Information on iPad was remotely deleted
Updated: Monday, 04 Feb 2013, 6:38 AM EST
Published : Friday, 01 Feb 2013, 4:13 PM EST
By Joe LaFurgey
WOOD TV
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/kent_county/gary-rolls-evidence-ipad-msp-search-020113




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls, already under investigation for allegedly molesting a woman from the time she was 9 until she was 23, may be facing more trouble.

The woman took out a personal protection order against Rolls in September 2012, and that petition was upheld in a hearing just days after he was re-elected to the commission.

During the investigation, the woman told detectives Rolls kept photos and videos of some of their encounters in a safe in his home and on his computer.

An iPad and other items were taken after a search of his Cannon Township home in September. A forensic expert from the Michigan State Police was preparing to check the iPad's contents, but "before a password could be entered, the computer automatically began to erase itself, which indicated someone had sent a remote request for this to occur after it was seized by law enforcement."

Investigators made that note in requesting a second search warrant asking Apple to retrieve the information from Rolls' iPad. MSP detectives suggest remotely deleting information may be a way to tamper with evidence.

It is possible to remotely erase information on Apple products. It's a feature designed to protect information if an iPad, iPod or another Apple product is lost or stolen.

                 









 Police use warrant to search Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls' iPad after sex assault allegations
The Grand Rapids Press
January 31, 2013 at 4:34 PM
Updated January 31, 2013 at 11:32 PM
By Heidi Fenton

KENT COUNTY, MI — Police were a step deeper into investigating sexual assault allegations against Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls after obtaining his iPad in late October - but then they hit a roadblock. Upon opening that iPad, the device began automatically deleting its memory, thus preventing authorities from gleaning any possible evidence from it, according to search warrant documents. Police believe someone gave the device a remote command to scrub its memory. That information contained in a search warrant request, sworn on Nov. 28 and made available to the public recently, sheds light on the steps authorities have taken throughout the investigation.

Rolls has not been charged with any crime resulting from this investigation. Ultimately, Ionia County Prosecutor Ron Schafer will decide what, if any, charges come out of the investigation.

The allegations of possible misconduct began last fall after a 28-year-old Muskegon County woman filed a personal protection order against Rolls, alleging he began inappropriately touching her years earlier, when she was around the age of 9. Rolls was a family friend who lived nearby in the Rockford area.

In court records, State Police Detective Sgt. Denise Bentley referenced an interview with the alleged victim and wrote that sexual activity between the victim and Rolls allegedly continued until the woman was 17, when “Rolls allegedly forced her to include sexual intercourse in their activities.”

Rolls sought to terminate the woman’s protection order against him and she testified in a Muskegon County court in early November. At that time, the woman said the sexual intercourse began when she was about 13.

She filed the protection order in September after encountering Rolls while they were both in vehicles at the Meijer store on Alpine Avenue NW. She works in Grand Rapids. She alleged he pointed a finger at her.

Police executed a search warrant on Rolls' home on Oct. 25. They seized computers, discs, papers and other items in search of photographs and communications between Rolls and the alleged victim.

Sgt. Bentley in early November said charges were expected by the end of the month, after the materials went through forensic examination.

But a second search warrant sworn by Bentley in Kent County District Court on Nov. 28 explains difficulties that arose through the examination, specifically with a 4G 32GB Apple iPad taken from Rolls.

“When computer crimes personnel attempted to forensically examine the above listed computer, it was turned on and a password was required to proceed. Before a password could be entered, the computer automatically began to erase itself, which indicated someone had sent a remote request for this to occur after it was seized by law enforcement,” she said, according to a record of the warrant.

“There was nothing they could do to prevent the device from erasing itself; therefore, the information obtained on the computer was irretrievable and could not be examined for evidence of a crime.” Bentley went on to request a warrant against Apple, Inc. for the iPad — information that would show what was used to “erase this device remotely” and “all “Cloud” data and any backed up files associated with the above named device.”

The Apple iCloud program allows Apple users to store data on remote servers so it is accessible on multiple devices. Bentley further explained the information was crucial to the investigation and an additional possible charge of evidence tampering could result.

Bentley said she had probable cause to believe the iPad contained evidence pertaining to the alleged crime. Police are seeking charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim younger than 13, a felony and a potential life offense, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person at least 13 but younger than 16, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

At the time the protection order was filed, Rolls’ attorney, John Karafa, said he “absolutely denies” the allegations. During the Muskegon County hearing in early November, the woman spoke of a belief she was “brainwashed.”

“To this day I believe that he is in control of me,” she testified then.

A message left Thursday, Jan. 31 with Rolls regarding a search of his iPad was not returned.

Schafer, the prosecutor, also could not be reached for comment. He is reviewing the case because Rolls is involved in Kent County government and the alleged victim resides in Muskegon County.

Rolls represents District 4, which includes Cannon, Grattan and Oakfield townships. Most recently, county commissioners agreed to look into what could be done to make sure residents were getting the representation they deserve. Rolls in the last few months missed several county commission meetings.


                   








Kent County Commission's new absence policy: let voters decide
The Grand Rapids Press
January 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM
Updated January 17, 2013 at 11:49 AM
By Rick Wilson
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/01/kent_county_commissions_new_ab.html

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Voters will ultimately decide whether Kent County commissioners’ absences from county board and committee meetings should be considered excused under a new practice commission Chairman Dan Koorndyk directed administrators to begin Thursday.

Koorndyk, R-Grand Rapids, ordered the new practice Thursday, Jan. 17 after concerns arose earlier this month about Grattan Township Republican Commissioner Gary Rolls' multiple absences from county board and committee meetings. The stretch of absences began last fall, after allegations surfaced that Rolls had an inappropriate relationship with a Muskegon County woman, beginning when the woman was a young girl.

Rolls has not been charged with any crime, though an investigation continues. Rolls and Ionia County Prosecutor Ronald Schafer, who is investigating the allegations, could not be reached for comment.

Rolls had missed a string of nine consecutive county board and committee meetings since the allegations surfaced, until attending the board’s Jan. 8 Legislative Committee meeting, a gathering not frequently attended by media. Among his other absences was the traditional swearing-in ceremony at the county board’s Jan. 3 organizational meeting, though he was sworn in privately Jan. 7 by county Elections Director Sue de Steiguer.

Koorndyk said the change in practice isn’t specifically related to Rolls but rather a clarification of a long-standing practice of designating absences as excused or unexcused, which has troubled him for years.

“I don’t think we should be making that judgment,” Koorndyk said during Thursday’s Executive Committee meeting. “It should be made by the public.”

Commissioner Carol Hennessy, D-Grand Rapids, suggested some notation could be made in meeting minutes if commissioners are absent because they are on county business, attending other county-related meetings or conferences. That prompted a discussion whether notations could be made for illness.

Commissioner Nate Vriesman, R-Byron Center, said constituents have asked him if commissioners could have their pay cut based on attendance. State law prohibits reducing elected officials’ salaries mid-term without their consent once they’re set by the Officers Compensation Commission.

Some like commissioner Ted Vonk, R-Plainfield Township, have voluntarily repaid taxpayers parts of their salary after extended absences. Vonk missed four months worth of meetings in 2009 after a life-threatening Aug. 9 motorcycle accident that year requiring numerous surgeries.

Koorndyk directed a special Rules Committee chaired by county board Vice Chairman Jim Saalfeld to recommend whether such subtleties should be reflected in any proposed new rules. Saalfeld said it’s likely impossible to set rules governing all the potential possibilities.

“I’d hate to start creating rules for all the nuances that could come up,” Saalfeld said.

County officials began their investigation into what if anything could be done to prevent extended absences by county commissioners after officials and constituents raised concerns about Rolls’ extended absence. County Corporate Counsel Dan Ophoff said there’s little officials can do to compel commissioners to attend meetings.

Ophoff said the primary ways county commissioners can be removed from office are through recall and general elections.

Former County Commissioner James Vaughn, D-Grand Rapids, served even after a 2009 conviction and imprisonment on misdemeanor assault and domestic violence charges until he was ousted by voters during the 2010 general election.

“The ultimate hammer rests with the electorate,” Ophoff said. “That’s the way the law really intends it to happen.”












Kent County Commissioner Misses Meetings Amid Controversy
January 03, 2013
Fox 17 News
By Jennifer Dowling
http://fox17online.com/2013/01/03/commissioner-accused-of-sex-assault-missing-from-meetings-since-october/#axzz2Q7sHsJ8k



KENT COUNTY, Mich. – Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls is catching heat for missing yet another meeting.

On Thursday, Jan. 3, other members of the commission were sworn in but Rolls was absent.

Some have speculated it may have something to do with the sexual assault allegations that have surfaced against him.

In September a 28-year-old woman requested a protection order against him for abuse that she claims began when she was 12-years-old.

Michigan State Police are investigating.

FOX17 pulled the attendance records for Rolls. When looking at the minutes from the meetings it’s indicated that the commissioner has been absent six times since July.

“I have not seen him since probably a board of commissioner meeting in mid-October,” said Jim Saalfeld, Kent County Board of Commissioners Vice-Chair.

Dates in which Rolls has been absent include Sept., 27, Oct., 25, Nov. 8, Nov. 29, Dec. 13 and Jan. 3.

Saalfeld believes that Rolls’ legal issues may be playing a role, but he hasn’t talked to Rolls in quite some time.

“I would assume it ties into that. But, I don`t know for sure,” said Saalfeld.

Rolls’ absences were listed as “excused,” suggesting he’d given a legitimate reason for not attending.

FOX1 17 wanted to know what his reasons were and who authorized them.

What was discovered is that the system may be letting the public down.

In order to get an absence marked as “excused” a commissioner simply has to call the county clerk and say they won’t be at a meeting. With no questions asked, they are marked as “excused.” They aren’t required to give a true excuse.

When Saalfeld was asked what he thought of the system, he said it may not give the public a clear picture of what’s happening.

“I agree. It is a concern,” Saalfeld said. “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.”

FOX 17 wanted to calculate what Rolls’ absence might mean for Kent County taxpayers.

In 2012 Gary Rolls made $18,000 a year serving as a commissioner.

If you break down the salary by the number of typical meetings per year,23, Rolls would get paid about $783 per meeting.

In 2012, Rolls missed six meetings since July.

That’s an estimated cost to taxpayers of around $3,915.

FOX 17 knocked on Rolls’ door to find out if he would be returning to work anytime soon.

He didn’t answer and no messages were returned.

The situation is leaving the public and other commissioners frustrated.

“A commissioner should be responsible enough to attend meetings, you know,” said Saalfeld. “The attendance is an important element to their service.”

Saalfeld said he will be heading a committee that will be looking into attendance when they review their standing rules. It’s a process done very two years.

He said they will likely look both at how the commission excuses absences and what recourse may be available if someone isn’t attending.

                   









Embattled Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls' lengthy absence prompts investigation
The Grand Rapids Press
January 03, 2013 at 2:50 PM
Updated January 03, 2013 at 6:02 PM
By Rick Wilson
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/01/embattled_kent_county_commissi.html



GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls’ absence from county board meetings since allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced last fall have prompted county officials to investigate what, if anything, can be done to assure his District 4 constituents are receiving the representation they deserve.

The County Commission’s rules committee is expected this year to investigate what recourse local officials may have in the wake of mounting questions from constituents and other commissioners about Rolls' extended absence, said newly-elected county board Chairman Dan Koorndyk, R-Grand Rapids.

Rolls, a Republican, has been absent from county board and committee meetings since allegations surfaced in October that he had an inappropriate relationship with a Muskegon County woman beginning when she was a young girl.

A state police detective in November said she expected charges could be filed, but no word on possible charges has yet come from the Ionia County Prosecutor’s office, which is reviewing the issue, given Rolls' involvement with Kent County government.

Ionia County Prosecutor Ronald Schafer could not be reached for comment.

Rolls also could not be reached for comment.

Kent County officials say they’ve heard mounting calls for something to be done.

“The number one concern, of course, is from constituents and the number two concern has been from other commissioners,” Koorndyk said.

Since the county board approved rules last year requiring volunteers appointed to various county committees to attend at least 75 percent of scheduled meetings, Koorndyk agreed it’s only fair to ask the same of elected officials.

The county board’s Rules Committee will include the issue in its biennial review of rules by which it operates and likely offer its report in the spring.

Commissioner Jim Saalfeld, R-Grand Rapids Township, on Thursday was elected the county board’s vice chairman and will chair the Rules Committee this year. Saalfeld, an attorney, said there may be little county officials can do because the removal of local elected officials is governed by state law.

“It’s something we need to look at because questions have been asked about it,” Saalfeld said. “Because a person is elected, there are limits to what you can do.”

Former County Commissioner James Vaughn, D-Grand Rapids, served out his term after a 2009 conviction and jail sentence for misdemeanor assault and domestic violence charges. He was ousted from the board during the 2010 general election.

Rolls has represented the county’s District 4 since 2002 and was handily re-elected during last fall’s general election, just after the allegations were publicized by then-Kent County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Rinck. Since a redistricting plan took effect Jan.1, District 4 includes Cannon, Grattan, Oakfield and Vergennes townships.

Rolls had begun improving his once less-than-sterling attendance record, missing only two meetings until the allegations surfaced. He has since missed nine consecutive county board and committee meetings, including budget work sessions, as a member of the board’s Finance and Physical Resources Committee.

All of his absences have been considered excused because he either calls or emails county leaders to let them know he will not be attending.

“Everybody on the board who has served during the past two years since I’ve been on has had an exceptional attendance record,” Saalfeld said. “I have not seen any problem, with the obvious exception.”











Rolls misses first 2013 commission mtg
Dan Koorndyk elected chairman at meeting
Updated: Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 6:28 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 03 Jan 2013, 11:01 AM EST
WOOD TV News
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/kent_county/kent-county-commissioners-pick-leaders-gary-rolls-absent-010313







GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Commissioner Gary Rolls skipped the first Kent County Board of Commissioners meeting of 2012.

Rolls had a personal protection order taken out against him in September by a woman who claimed he molested her when she was a teenager. The woman claims the alleged sexual encounters with Rolls started when she was a teenager. She is now 28.

Rolls was re-elected to his Fourth District seat in the November election by a nearly 2-1 margin and denied the accusation in the petition.

Since the PPO was filed, Rolls has missed four meetings in a row.

"He has missed some meetings and I'm sure he'll show up hopefully in the near future," Commissioner Dan Koorndyk, who was elected to the chair position Thursday, said after the meeting.

He added he didn't know if Rolls missed the meeting because of his legal issues:

"You'd have to talk to Gary on that. I don't know all the background."

No one was home when 24 Hour News 8 went to Rolls' house for comment. The Pinnacle Insurance Company said Rolls no longer works there. The attorney 24 Hour News 8 was told might represent him declined to comment.

It's unclear what will happen if Rolls continues to be a no-show. 24 Hour News 8 asked if there is there a limit at which point he would lose his seat.

"Not that I know of," said Koorndyk. "But I'm sure he'll show up to work soon. I'm hopeful."

Voters pay Rolls -- and every other commissioner -- a flat fee of $20,000 a year.

Koorndyk said he believes voters would have to remove Rolls from office if they are unsatisfied because the board cannot legally do so.

Ionia County Prosecutor Ron Schafer, who is reviewing the case against Rolls, said he won't make a decision on whether to file any criminal charges for a few more weeks.

--

Koorndyk Thursday also talked about the budget issues the county will face after its first 2013 meeting:

"Our budget is in great shape, the only concern we have is personal property tax that was passed in lame duck. Fortunately none of that goes into effect until 2014 so we have some time to work on that."

Commissioner Jim Saalfeld was named Vice Chair at the meeting and the Minority Vice Chair went to Carol Hennessy.












Personal Protection Order hearing against Commissioner Gary Rolls
November 10, 2012 12:40 AM
WZZM TV News
http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/231108/5/Personal-Protection-Order-hearing-against-Commissioner-Gary-Rolls



UPDATE AT 4:00 P.M. (WZZM) -- A Muskegon County judge has upheld a personal protection order (PPO) against Kent County commissioner Gary Rolls.

The judge's decision comes after two days of testimony over the circumstances of the order.

A 28-year-old Muskegon County woman is accusing Rolls of having a sexual relationship with her dating back to her childhood. She also claims Rolls has threatened her over revealing their relationship.

Rolls' attorney cross-examined the woman Friday, the second day of the hearing.

WZZM 13 has crews following developments of the hearing. they will have a live report on WZZM 13 News at 6 p.m.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- We are learning new details about a Kent County Commissioner facing allegations of sexual assault.

A personal protection order (PPO) hearing was held Thursday morning for Fourth District Commissioner Gary Rolls. The alleged victim now lives in Muskegon County, and took out the PPO in September saying Gary Rolls threatened her.

The victim, who is now 28 years old, testified Thursday that Rolls started abusing her when she was nine years old. The two lived on the same street in Rockford, which is how they know each other.

She told the judge that by the time she was 13, Rolls had intercourse with her and that the abuse continued until she was 23.

Also Thursday, a State Police investigator told the court he anticipates Rolls will be charged with both first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The detective says the charges have not yet been filed because they are still processing evidence taken from Rolls home in Ada.

Rolls attorney requested Thursday's hearing, asking the PPO be dropped.

The victim's attorney defended the need for a restraining order alleging Rolls threatened her, saying, "He knew people in high places."

Rolls just won re-election to the Kent County Commission in the Fourth District Tuesday.

Our lakeshore reporter Jon Mills is in court and he will have more later today on WZZM 13 News and wzzm13.com.











PPO Termination Denied for Kent County Commissioner
November 09, 2012
FOX 17 News
by Darren Cunningham
http://fox17online.com/2012/11/09/ppo-termination-denied-for-kent-county-commissioner/#axzz2Q7sHsJ8k



MUSKEGON, Mich- Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls left the Muskegon County Courthouse disappointed.

Moments before, he lost a two day battle to terminate a personal protection order filed against him.

A 28 year old woman from Muskegon filed the PPO, alleging Rolls sexually abused her starting at age nine. She says it continued for 14 years.

She also claims she was verbally and physically abused and that he threatened her life, if she told anyone anything about their relations.

The defense attorney tried to verify dates and challenged her ability to give an accurate recollection of events. He even questioned her timing, ordering a PPO a little over a month before the November election, in which commissioner rolls was just re-elected.

However, the judge wasn’t convinced that the PPO should be overturned. This delivered a blow to the defense.

“Even under a preponderance of the evidence, he called it a close call. So from that standpoint, I think it’s clear that there’s a lot more to this story then the petitioner even presented in this

case, uh, there may be something that has to be discovered down the road a little further,” John Karafa, Rolls’ defense attorney said.

According to the paperwork, that PPO expires in September of next year. At day one of the hearing, a Michigan State Police detective mentioned bringing possible criminal sexual conduct charges against Rolls.

Stay with FOX 17 News for the latest.











Judge upholds protection order against Rolls
Friday, November 9th, 2012, 11:40pm
WZZM TV News
Submitted by Chris Fleszar, Executive Producer
http://grcentral.wzzm13.com/news/news/74901-judge-upholds-protection-order-against-rolls





UPDATE AT 4:00 P.M. (WZZM) -- A Muskegon County judge has upheld a personal protection order (PPO) against Kent County commissioner Gary Rolls.

The judge's decision comes after two days of testimony over the circumstances of the order.

A 28-year-old Muskegon County woman is accusing Rolls of having a sexual relationship with her dating back to her childhood. She also claims Rolls has threatened her over revealing their relationship.

Rolls' attorney cross-examined the woman Friday, the second day of the hearing.

WZZM 13 has crews following developments of the hearing. they will have a live report on WZZM 13 News at 6 p.m.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- We are learning new details about a Kent County Commissioner facing allegations of sexual assault.

A personal protection order (PPO) hearing was held Thursday morning for Fourth District Commissioner Gary Rolls. The alleged victim now lives in Muskegon County, and took out the PPO in September saying Gary Rolls threatened her.

The victim, who is now 28 years old, testified Thursday that Rolls started abusing her when she was nine years old. The two lived on the same street in Rockford, which is how they know each other.

She told the judge that by the time she was 13, Rolls had intercourse with her and that the abuse continued until she was 23.

Also Thursday, a State Police investigator told the court he anticipates Rolls will be charged with both first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The detective says the charges have not yet been filed because they are still processing evidence taken from Rolls home in Ada.

Rolls attorney requested Thursday's hearing, asking the PPO be dropped.

The victim's attorney defended the need for a restraining order alleging Rolls threatened her, saying, "He knew people in high places."

Rolls just won re-election to the Kent County Commission in the Fourth District Tuesday.

Our lakeshore reporter Jon Mills is in court and he will have more later today on WZZM 13 News and wzzm13.com.











Muskegon judge: Evidence indicates Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls threatened, had sex with accuser
Published: Friday, November 09, 2012, 5:55 PM
Updated: Friday, November 09, 2012, 5:56 PM
The Muskegon Chronicle
By John S. Hausman
http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/11/muskegon_judge_evidence_indica.html



















MUSKEGON, MI – After a day-and-a-half court hearing that at times resembled a criminal trial, a Muskegon judge rejected Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls' motion to terminate a personal protection order against him by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her for years starting when she was 9.


That means the commissioner must avoid contact with the 28-year-old Muskegon County woman.

Muskegon County 14th Circuit Judge James M. Graves Jr. made his ruling from the bench at 4:10 p.m. Friday.

Graves, terming it a “close call,” based his decision on two factors:

• An alleged September 2012 incident the woman said happened at the intersection of Alpine Avenue and Leonard Street in Grand Rapids. She testified she saw Rolls, in his vehicle, point his right index finger at her with his thumb raised, which she interpreted as a threat. Her attorney, Dan Bonner of Muskegon, called it “the universal sign language for a gun.”

• Her testimony alleging a long history of sexual abuse by Rolls and his threats to her life if she were to disclose it.

“The court concludes that the incident involving the pointing of the finger in a threatening manner and previous threats over the years, and one or more acts of sexual conduct in earlier years, has been established by a preponderance of the evidence,” Graves said.

Graves mentioned one piece of evidence in particular: seven “rather graphic pictures” of female genital mutilation introduced into evidence, which the woman said Rolls gave her when she was no older than 12 and ordered her to carry in her purse, allegedly as a warning not to leave him or disclose their relationship.

“I have a difficult time believing that she has such a malignant attitude towards the respondent and such a sinister nature that she collected these pictures and kept them just to make this up,” Graves said.

The ruling followed testimony by four witnesses on behalf of the woman, including herself, a Michigan State Police detective sergeant and two Ravenna residents whose home she stayed at for a year.

Rolls did not testify and refused to comment, exiting down the courthouse stairway after the hearing ended and not responding to an MLive reporter’s question.

No witnesses testified on Rolls’ behalf, but his attorney introduced exhibits and extensively cross-examined the woman and her other witnesses.

Rolls is likely to be criminally charged by the end of November with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree criminal sexual conduct, state police Detective Sgt. Denise Bentley said Thursday. First-degree criminal sexual conduct is a potential life felony, while third-degree is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Rolls’ attorney, John Karafa of Muskegon, did not quarrel with the judge’s decision but pointed to some of Graves’ words.

“The judge even under a preponderance of evidence standard called it a close call and certainly he was troubled by the evidence, as any fact-finder would be,” Karafa said. “We continue to insist there is no need for a personal protection order.”

Karafa said Rolls chose to fight the order, even though he had no intention of contacting the woman, because such an order “has quasi-criminal implications. … If there’s an irrational petitioner and you do not deny (the allegation) do you want that hanging over your head?”

Bentley testified Thursday that she found the woman “absolutely credible.” She said the state police has submitted an arrest warrant request to the Ionia County Prosecutor’s Office and that she’s been told to expect a warrant to be authorized later this month.

In her own testimony, which began Thursday and continued into Friday afternoon, the alleged victim spoke of years of alleged sexual abuse, threats and intimidation by Rolls. She testified about two alleged instances when she was about 15 when, she said, Rolls pressed a hot car cigarette lighter to her inner thigh after she refused to perform a sexual act.

She said she has always felt “controlled” by Rolls and continues to and that she still fears him.

She said the sexual abuse began when she was 9, shortly after her family moved into Rolls’ neighborhood, with him sexually touching her. She said it escalated later – sometime in her teen years – to sexual intercourse.

She testified the relationship continued until she was 23 or 24, ending in 2008. She said she told no one until disclosing the sexual abuse to a counselor in 2008, refusing counselors' requests that she tell police, and only told her family at Thanksgiving 2011.

She said that was because she feared Rolls. She testified he threatened to kill her with one of his guns if she disclosed the relationship and said he mentioned friends in Kent County law enforcement who he said would help him get rid of her and hide her body.

She said she and Rolls had no contact in 2012 until the alleged finger-pointing incident in September.

In cross-examination, Karafa hammered at inconsistencies in her story, including differing ages and years she gave for some alleged events.

In particular Karafa pointed to her allegation in her Sept. 26 petition for a personal protection order that the two had sexual relations during a trip to Mackinaw City for the annual Bridge Walk when she was 15. Karafa demonstrated through a photograph that the trip was actually in 2003, when she was 19 and therefore of legal age to consent to sex.

Karafa also introduced evidence that the woman repeatedly expressed love for Rolls and seemingly unforced desire to see him, including a series of telephone voice messages from 2005 to 2007.

Bonner turned that against Rolls in his closing argument.

“Who saves voice messages for 7 ½ years except someone who wants to cover themselves in case all of this hidden stuff comes up?” Bonner said. “That would be the only purpose I can imagine … because it’s a desperate attempt by this sexual predator to escape the consequences of his behavior.”

Also testifying on the woman’s behalf were Lynn and Ann Braford, a Ravenna husband and wife with whom the alleged victim stayed from February 2011 to March 2012.

Both testified to an incident in July 2011 in which Rolls stopped by their home to ask to see the alleged victim, who was inside.

Both said her reaction was panic, with intense fear showing on her face when she said “no.” Ann Braford said the woman ran into her bedroom crying and stayed there for an hour and a half.

“I’m not sure she’s that good an actress,” the judge said in explaining his ruling.

                   







Muskegon judge upholds protection order against Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls

Published: Friday, November 09, 2012, 4:13 PM
Updated: Friday, November 09, 2012, 7:35 PM
The Muskegon Chronicle
By John S. Hausman
http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/11/muskegon_judge_upholds_protect.html




UPDATE: Judge: Evidence indicates Rolls threatened, had sex with accuser

MUSKEGON, MI -- A Muskegon County judge Friday rejected Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls' motion to terminate a personal protection order against him filed by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her over years starting when she was 9.

That means the commissioner must avoid contact with the 28-year-old Muskegon County woman.

Muskegon County 14th Circuit Judge James M. Graves Jr. made the ruling from the bench at 4:10 p.m. Friday, after a day-and-a-half hearing.

Watch for more information at MLive.com/Muskegon.

                   











Attorney for Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls cross-examines his accuser
Published: Friday, November 09, 2012, 12:49 PM
Updated: Friday, November 09, 2012, 5:25 PM
The Muskegon Chronicle
By John S. Hausman
http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/11/attorney_for_kent_county_commi.html



MUSKEGON, MI – The attorney for Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls spent most of Friday morning hammering at Rolls’ 28-year-old accuser for discrepancies in her story that Rolls sexually abused her for years when she was a child and that she now fears him.

The Muskegon County woman on Sept. 26 got Muskegon County 14th Circuit Judge James M. Graves Jr. to sign a personal protection order for her against Rolls. A hearing on Rolls’ motion to terminate the order began Thursday and is continuing Friday.

She alleges that she felt threatened after she saw Rolls in September point a finger at her while both were in their vehicles at a stoplight near her Grand Rapids workplace, leading to her seeking the protection order. The woman testified Thursday that, years ago, Rolls had threatened her life if she revealed their relationship, mentioning his permit to carry a concealed handgun. Rolls has numerous guns in his home, a Michigan State Police detective sergeant testified Thursday.

The woman also testified Thursday that she has always felt “controlled” by Rolls since he allegedly began sexually abusing her when she was 9. She said he gave her, when she was no older than 12, seven pictures of "female genital mutilation" to carry in her purse as a reminder of what could happen. Such photos were introduced into evidence Thursday.

She testified Friday that the relationship continued until she was 23 or 24.

Rolls’ attorney, John Karafa of Muskegon, Friday morning questioned her about past cards, emails and phone messages she left Rolls while in her late teens and early 20s, expressing love for him and not sounding afraid of him.

Those included a 2001 email, written when she was 16 and apparently saved by Rolls for more than 11 years, and a series of voicemail messages on Rolls’ phone from 2005 to 2007 that he also saved for years.

Karafa also questioned the woman about a series of events that indicated she had not feared him in earlier years.

The woman has given different dates and ages for various events but has consistently said Rolls began sexually touching her when she was 9, escalating to other sexual acts when she was younger than 16, Michigan’s age of consent.

Late Friday morning, the woman’s attorney, Dan Bonner of Muskegon began his redirect examination of her.

The hearing broke for lunch at noon and was to resume at 1:30 p.m.











Gallery:
Gary Rolls appears in court in Muskegon on November 9, 2012
(14 photos) RSS
MLive
November 09, 2012, 12:52 pm
by Ken Stevens
http://photos.mlive.com/4474/gallery/gary_rolls_appears_in_court_in_muskegon_on_november_9_2012/index.html

Description: Gary Rolls, a Kent County Commissioner appeared in Muskegon County's 14th Circuit Court again on November 9, 2012 on a motion to terminate an alleged sexual abuse victim’s personal protection order against him



































































PPO upheld against Commissioner Rolls
Judge ruled in favor of alleged victim
Updated: Friday, 09 Nov 2012, 6:21 PM EST
Published : Friday, 09 Nov 2012, 12:21 PM EST
By Joe LaFurgey
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/muskegon_county/kent-county-commissioner-gary-rolls-ppo-hearing-110912










MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - A personal protection order taken out against Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls will remain in effect, a judge in Muskegon ruled Friday.

The ruling came at the end of a two-day hearing on allegations Rolls molested a woman for several years. Rolls did not take the stand in the hearing to determine whether a PPO taken out by the woman against Rolls should be dropped.

Rolls, who was re-elected to his Fourth District seat Tuesday by a nearly 2-1 margin, denied the accusation in the petition.

While most of the alleged incidents took place in Kent County, the PPO was filed in Muskegon County because that's where the woman lives.

The petition claims Rolls sexually assaulted her for several years, and threatened her if she ever told anybody about the incidents. She said that control kept her from telling anyone about the incident until last year, and that a therapist convinced her to request the PPO in September, just months before Election Day.

On Friday, Rolls' attorney John Kerala grilled the alleged victim on some inconsistencies in the stories she's told. Kerala questioned the timing of the PPO, originally ordered in September - more than a year after the last contact between Rolls and the woman.

The woman claims the alleged sexual encounters with Rolls started when she was a teenager. She is now 28.

"One explanation has been suggested during the course of these proceedings is the acknowledgment that Mr. Rolls is running for Kent County, or up for re-election for Kent County commission and it would get blasted, as it did, all over the media," Kerala said.

Kerala wanted to know why the woman didn't tell anyone, even after counselors got her to talk about the alleged sexual assaults as an adult.

"Your counselor just decided to continue counseling with you? Did not recommend that you contact law enforcement about that?" he asked.

"They all wanted me to," she replied, "and I did not because I didn't want to ruin his family's reputation."

Kerala hammered away at inconsistencies in her Protection Order petition, including one detailing an alleged sexual encounter with Rolls when she was 19. In the PPO, she claims it happened when she was 15.

"That's a lie, isn't it?" Kerala asked the alleged victim. "That when you put age 15 down, it sounded a lot worse and would get him in trouble, right?"

The alleged victim explained she was confused when she put 15 down.

After the ruling, Rolls hurried from the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

"That is the Doctor Jekyll that we see," said Dan Bonner, the attorney for the woman. "But what we've heard about the last few days in this courtroom, your honor, is the Mr. Hyde part of Gary Rolls."

The Michigan State Police say they've got the evidence to turn this into a criminal case against Rolls.

Because Rolls is a Kent County commissioner, the Ionia County prosecutor is handling the case. Charges are expected to be filed by the end of the month.











Kent Co. Commissioner Fights Personal Protection Order
November 08, 2012
FOX 17 News
By Darren Cunningham
http://fox17online.com/2012/11/08/kent-co-commissioner-fights-personal-protection-order/#axzz2Q7sHsJ8k










Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls appeared in a Muskegon County courtroom Thursday morning.


He’s working to have a personal protection order against him thrown out. The alleged victim filed it back in September, claiming rolls had molested her as a little girl.

“She is very fragile and this has been a, just a very devastating experience for her. Her testimony this morning was heartbreaking,” Daniel Bonner, the victim’s attorney said.

The alleged victim, who’s now 28, says Rolls was a family friend who started touching her inappropriately when she was nine years old.

She claims that escalated to sex, which continued for several years after that. Then there’s claims of verbal and physical abuse, and threats on her life if she ever told anyone anything.

“What`s she been carrying all these years and her credibility. Both the state police detective Denise Bentley and I find her to be extremely credible,” Bonner said.

Back in October, Rolls’ attorney filed to have the PPO thrown out, saying the accusations aren’t true. FOX 17 tried contacting Commissioner Rolls at his home in Ada. It appeared no one was home.

Right now, this is a civil case, but the sState Police is investigating. Bonner says a detective testified Thursday morning about the possibility of criminal charges being filed.

“She anticipates that the Ionia County prosecutor will issue a warrant on charge of what we call criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and criminal sexual conduct in the third degree primarily because of the age of the victim at the time of the alleged act took place,” Bonner explained.

Gary Rolls attorney did not return FOX 17′s call.

FOX 17 will be at day two of the hearing Friday morning.

                     













Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls' colleagues talk about his absence since sex allegations surfaced
The Grand Rapids Press
November 08, 2012 at 3:50 PM
Updated November 08, 2012 at 4:52 PM
By Rick Wilson
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/11/kent_county_commissioner_gary_1.html


GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls has been noticeably absent from county board and committee meetings since allegations surfaced last month that he molested a Muskegon County woman beginning when she was 12 years old.

A Michigan State Police Detective testified in Muskegon County Circuit Court on Thursday, Nov. 8 that she expexts charges will be filed against Rolls, including first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim younger than 13, a potential life felony, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person at least 13 but younger than 16, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Fellow commissioners and county officials said communication with Rolls has been scarce, other than e-mails informing them he wouldn’t be attending meetings. They add though he was once active on Facebook, Rolls has refrained from posting comments there.

Rolls has held Kent County’s District 4 Commission seat since being elected in 2002. The district now covers Cannon, Grattan, Oakfield and Ada townships, though a redistricting plan which becomes effective Jan. 1 revises boundaries to remove Ada and include Vergennes Township in District 4.

County elections officials say there is no legal mechanism by which to remove Rolls from office if he is charged or convicted of a crime. They cited the case of former County Commissioner James Vaughn, D-Grand Rapids, who served out his term after being convicted and jailed on misdemeanor assault and domestic violence charges in 2009.

Should Rolls resign, the county board has 30 days to appoint a replacement.

The detective testified Thursday that search warrants had been executed at Rolls’ Cannon Township home and office. According to Rolls’ LinkdIn page, he is employed as a senior account executive specializing in among other types of insurance professional and medical malpractice at Pinnacle Insurance Partners in Grand Rapids.











Alleged victim: Molestation by Gary Rolls, Kent County commissioner, began when she was 9
Published: Thursday, November 08, 2012, 2:23 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 08, 2012, 2:52 PM
The Muskegon Chronicle
By John S. Hausman
http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/11/alleged_victim_of_gary_r.html



MUSKEGON, MI – The 28-year-old alleged victim of Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls testified Thursday that he began sexually touching her when she was 9, soon after her family moved to his neighborhood.

The Muskegon County woman said the molestation escalated to sexual intercourse starting when she was about 13.

The woman said she remains fearful of Rolls, whom she testified she has felt “controlled” by since childhood and who, she testified, has in the past threatened her with death if she revealed their relationship.

The testimony came at a Muskegon court hearing on Rolls’ motion to terminate the alleged victim’s personal protection order against him. That civil case is being heard by Muskegon County 14th Circuit Judge James M. Graves Jr., who granted the protection order in late September.

The hearing temporarily adjourned at noon Thursday with the alleged victim still on the stand. It’s set to resume at 9 a.m. Friday.

Rolls said nothing when asked for his response after Thursday’s hearing ended and his Muskegon attorney, John Karafa, declined to comment. Neither answered when asked if Rolls will testify Friday.

Last month, Karafa said the woman’s allegations were "highly suspect" and "categorically denied as untrue."

Rolls was re-elected Tuesday to the Kent County Board of Commissioners. He is a Republican representing Ada, Grattan, Oakfield and Cannon townships.

The woman’s allegations have led the Michigan State Police to seek a felony arrest warrant charging Rolls with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim younger than 13 and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person at least 13 but younger than 16, a state police detective sergeant said earlier. First-degree criminal sexual conduct is a potential life felony.

In an MLive interview before the hearing, Detective Sgt. Denise Bentley said police have submitted an arrest warrant request to the Ionia County Prosecutor’s Office.

Bentley said the state police executed a search warrant Oct. 25 on Rolls’ home and business. Police seized computers, disks, papers and other items in search of photographs and communications between Rolls and the alleged victim.

Bentley said charges are expected in late November. The materials are undergoing forensic examination, she said, which she said may lead to additional charges.

In court, Bentley testified, "I've been told that I should anticipate charges." She said she found the alleged victim’s allegations “absolutely credible.”

Under cross-examination by Karafa, Bentley acknowledged that the woman had communicated often with Rolls after reaching adulthood, including expressions of affection.

The alleged victim’s attorney, West Michigan Legal Aid attorney Dan Bonner of Muskegon, later asked the alleged victim to explain that.

“From a young age I was … brainwashed to believe everything he told me was true,” she testified. “And to this day I believe that he is in control over me.”

She said she is in counseling partly over that issue.

Among the woman’s allegations, made under oath at Thursday’s hearing:

--that Rolls burned her thigh with a car cigarette lighter on two different occasions when she was 15 after she refused to perform a sexual act.

--that Rolls threatened her over the years, starting when she was 12 and ending when she was 26.

“He would threaten me that he knows people that are higher up than him and that he could use his concealed weapons permit, gun, against me, and his friends would be able to get rid of me and nobody would know where I was or where I was buried,” she testified.

Rolls would say “that he has friends that are officers in Kent County and he knows a lot of people from the position he’s in, and that he would have me taken care of,” she testified.

--Introduced into evidence were seven photographs of female genital mutilation that the woman said Rolls gave her when she was no older than 12. She testified that he told her to carry them in her purse, which she said she has done ever since, after he threatened to do the same thing to her if she didn’t stay with him.

He allegedly told her “do not tell anybody, this is our little secret,” she testified.

Her attorney, Dan Bonner, said the Ionia County Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday called him to ask him to represent the alleged victim.

A victim-witness advocate from the prosecutor's office was on hand to support the alleged victim at the hearing. Graves granted Bonner's request for that at the start of the hearing.











Gallery: Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls appears in court in Muskegon
(14 photos) RSS
Thursday, November 08, 2012 1:53 PM
The Muskegon Chronicle
By Ken Stevens
http://photos.mlive.com/4474/gallery/kent_county_commissioner_gary_rolls_appears_in_court_in_muskegon/index.html

Description: Gary Rolls, a Kent County Commissioner appeared in Muskegon County's 14th Circuit Court on November 8, 2012 on a motion to terminate an alleged sexual abuse victim’s personal protection order against him.































































                   












State police detective: Sex charges expected against Kent County commissioner Gary Rolls
Published: Thursday, November 08, 2012, 12:26 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 08, 2012, 2:37 PM
The Muskegon Chronicle
By John S. Hausman
http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/11/state_police_detective_seeking.html


MUSKEGON, MI – The Michigan State Police is seeking a felony arrest warrant against Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls on allegations he molested a child years ago, according to a detective sergeant.

In an interview Thursday morning before a Muskegon court hearing, Detective Sgt. Denise Bentley said police have submitted a warrant request to the Ionia County Prosecutor’s Office.

Police are seeking charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim younger than 13, a potential life felony, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person at least 13 but younger than 16, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Bentley said the state police executed a search warrant Oct. 25 on Rolls’ home and business. Police seized computers, discs, papers and other items in search of photographs and communications between Rolls and the alleged victim.

She said charges are expected in late November. The materials are undergoing forensic examination, she said.

In court later, Bentley testified, "I've been told that I should anticipate charges."

Bentley spoke of the warrant request before a hearing on Rolls’ motion to terminate the alleged victim’s personal protection order against him, at which the detective was to testify. That civil case was being heard by Muskegon County 14th Circuit Judge James M. Graves Jr.

Rolls was re-elected Tuesday to the Kent County Board of Commissioners. He is a Republican representing Ada, Grattan, Oakfield and Cannon townships.

The allegations involve a Muskegon County woman who is now 28.

Rolls’ attorney, John Karafa of Muskegon, earlier called the woman’s allegations "highly suspect" and “categorically denied as untrue.”

Muskegon attorney Dan Bonner is representing the woman at Thursday's hearing. Bonner said the Ionia County Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday asked him to represent her.

A victim-witness advocate from the prosecutor's office is on hand to support the alleged victim at the hearing. Graves granted Bonner's request for that at the start of the hearing.

                   








Det: Commish Rolls may face sex charge
Gary Rolls re-elected Tuesday
Updated: Thursday, 08 Nov 2012, 6:21 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 08 Nov 2012, 1:42 PM EST
WOOD TV News
By Joe LaFurgey
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/muskegon_county/Det-Commish-Rolls-may-face-sex-charge




MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - Re-elected by a nearly 2-1 margin Tuesday, Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls appeared in a Muskegon County courtroom Thursday in connection with accusations he sexually assaulted a woman over several years.

The hearing in Muskegon County Circuit Court was supposed to determine whether a Personal Protection Order taken out by the alleged victim in September should remain in place. The PPO was filed in Muskegon County because that's where the alleged victim lives.

In court documents filed in October, Rolls' lawyer John Kerala claims the accusations are untrue and the PPO should be dropped.

But the hearing also revealed new details about the criminal investigation into accusations Rolls sexually assaulted the alleged victim, now 28, since she was 12 years old.

A state police sergeant assigned to the case said forensic evidence, including computers and cameras taken from Rolls home and business, are still being examined.

While the final decision is up to the prosecutor, MSP Detective Sgt. Denise Bentley said she believes there's enough evidence to charge Rolls with 1st-degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.

Third-degree CSC was also an option, but many of the victim's claims against Rolls are more than a decade old. Third-degree CSC carries a 10-year statute of limitations, while 1st-degree CSC has no statute of limitation.

Most of the alleged CSCs happened in Kent County. Because Rolls is a Kent County Commissioner, the Ionia County Prosecutor will handle the case.

The alleged victim, who is not being named by 24 Hour News 8, took the stand Thursday. She said she still fears for her safety after a number of encounters with Rolls.

She said the sexual assaults began when she was 12, and over the years, Rolls had control over her by threatening her safety if she told anybody about the assaults.

On the stand, she told the judge Rolls, who was first elected to the Kent County Commission in 2002, reminded her of the people he knew, including many in law enforcement, and the fact that he held a concealed-carry gun permit.

"He could get rid of me and no one would know what happened to me," she told the judge.

As 24 Hour News 8 reported when the story first broke, there is no indication the alleged victim ever went to law enforcement about the case.

She testified the latest incident of intimidation happened back in September, when she saw Rolls in a car near her place of employment on Grand Rapids' northwest side. She said Rolls pointed his finger at her as they approached the same intersection.

Attorney Kerala noted Rolls' business is in that same area.

Rolls and his attorney declined to comment when they left the courtroom.

The hearing will continue Friday.












Allegations against Kent County commissioner Gary Rolls 'highly suspect,' his attorney says
The Grand Rapids Press
October 17, 2012 at 5:45 PM
Updated October 17, 2012 at 5:57 PM
By John Tunison
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/10/allegations_against_kent_commi.html#incart_river_default

KENT COUNTY, MI -- The attorney for Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls, who is under investigation for a possible teen molestation years ago, is calling the allegations "highly suspect.'

"These allegations made in the petition filed by a Muskegon County woman for a personal protection order are categorically denied as untrue by Mr. Rolls," attorney John Karafa said in a statement Wednesday, Oct. 17.

"The allegations themselves are highly suspect. Moreover, the fact that the media became aware of these allegations before any law enforcement agency was even told of them raises serious questions as to this (accuser's) underlying motivations," he said.

Rolls, a Republican serving Ada, Grattan, Oakfield and Cannon townships, is up for re-election in November in a contested race.

A state police detective has confirmed that Rolls is under investigation for actions involving a woman who is now 28.

In an affidavit filed for a protection order against Rolls in late September, the woman claimed that Rolls molested her when she was as young as 12. He was a family friend, she wrote in the affidavit.

The woman, who lives in Muskegon County but works in the Grand Rapids area, claimed that Rolls had continued to contact her as late as 2011 and he recently pointed a finger at her as they passed in separate cars at the Meijer store on Alpine Avenue NW.

In his statement, Karafa said Rolls intends to "vigorously defend himself against these allegations."

"This personal protection order was issued ex parte, which is a procedural exception to the general rule that would otherwise have allowed Mr. Rolls an opportunity to respond to the allegations before any order was considered," he said.

Rolls has asked a Muskegon County judge to rescind the protection order and a Nov. 8 hearing is scheduled on the matter.











Kent County Commissioner under investigation for possible teen molestation years ago
The Grand Rapids Press
October 17, 2012 at 3:14 PM
Updated February 01, 2013 at 11:26 AM
By John Tunison
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/10/kent_county_commissioner_under.html

UPDATE: The attorney for Gary Rolls is calling the allegations against him "highly suspect" in a statement issued Wednesday, Oct. 17.

KENT COUNTY, MI -- With the November election less than three weeks away, a Kent County commissioner is under investigation for a possible teen molestation many years ago.

State police Detective Denise Bentley confirmed that an investigation was started just days ago involving Gary Rolls, whose district covers Cannon, Grattan and Oakfield townships.

Bentley said she could not discuss details of the investigation, but said she expected to forward a report to prosecutors for review in a couple of days.

Rolls has not been charged with any crime.

Rolls, a Republican, is up for re-election in November in a contested race. He has denied the allegations.

A personal protection order, issued Sept. 26 and signed by a Muskegon County judge, provides some insight into the accusations made against Rolls, however.

In an affidavit, a woman who is now 28 alleges that Rolls was a family friend when the alleged molestation began with inappropriate touching 16 years ago. She lived near him in the Rockford area.

She alleged it continued through the years and, at age 15, the molestation involved sexual acts.

The woman alleged that Rolls continued to contact her into 2011, even though she told him not to.

She filed for a personal protection order in September after she encountered Rolls while they were both in vehicles at the Meijer store on Alpine Avenue NW. She alleged he pointed his finger at her.

The woman lives in Muskegon County but works in the Grand Rapids area.

Rolls did not return a phone message Wednesday, but his attorney, John Karafa, said he "absolutely denies" the allegations made in the affidavit.

He suggested the allegations are "politically motivated disclosures" and said Rolls highly respected and well-liked in the community.

Karafa also noted that the protection order issued in Muskegon County is an "ex parte" order involving only the woman's side of the story.

Rolls is asking that the protection order be rescinded and a Nov. 8 hearing has been scheduled in Muskegon County on the request.









Kent Dems: Sex PPO against GOP commish
Gary Rolls on Kent County Commission since 2002
Updated: Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012, 5:30 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012, 6:59 PM EDT
WOOD TV News
By Joe LaFurgey
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/kent_county/Kent-Dems-Sex-PPO-against-GOP-commish










GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A Kent County commissioner, up for re-election next month, is under investigation after allegations surfaced he molested a woman when she was a pre-teen.

The county commissioner, Republican Gary Rolls, denied the accusation in a court filing, asking the Personal Protection Order filed by the alleged victim in September be rescinded.

The information was revealed by the Kent County Democratic Party chairperson Jim Rinck. 24 Hour News 8 questioned the source and the timing of this information, then pulled court records and talked to those involved.

Then 24 Hour News 8 confirmed Michigan State Police launched an investigation into these allegations based on information in the Personal Protection Order.

24 Hour News 8 found:
--The victim, now 28, says she was 12 when the first incident happened. She claims Rolls began touching her inappropriately.

--She recounts several more incidents over the years in the court filing.

--She says as she became an adult, Rolls continued to harass her, even though she said she wanted nothing to do with him.

--She filed the order in Muskegon County because that is where she lives.

24 Hour News 8 was told the victim knew nothing about the Kent County Democratic Party's role in releasing the information.

A detective sergeant at the MSP post in Rockford said it is very early in the investigation. There are also questions over the statute of limitations if the allegations are proven.

Nothing has been turned over to the prosecutor for review.

Rolls had not made any statement to police. Neither Rolls nor his attorney have returned calls or emails made by 24 Hour News 8.

Since 2002, Rolls has represented the Fourth District of Kent County, which includes Ada, Cannon, Grattan and Oakfield townships.

Rolls will fight these allegations at a hearing Nov. 8 -- two days after Election Day. That is when a judge will decide whether to rescind the PPO.


------------------


Editor's Note: On October 17, 2012, the attorney for Gary Rolls released this statement to the media. This is the entire statement, as written.

PRESS RELEASE - October 17, 2012:

The following is a press release, responding to news accounts of a

personal protection order issued by a Muskegon County Court against Kent County Commissioner, Gary Rolls. This release is made on Mr. Rolls' behalf:

********

"The allegations made in the petition filed by a Muskegon County woman for a personal protection order (PPO) are categorically denied as untrue by Mr. Rolls. This PPO was issued ex parte, which is a procedural exception to the general rule that would otherwise have allowed Mr. Rolls an opportunity to respond to the allegations before any order was considered.

The allegations themselves are highly suspect. Moreover, the fact that the media became aware of these allegations before any law enforcement agency was even told of them raises serious questions as to this person's underlying motivations.

Mr. Rolls will vigorously defend himself against these allegations. He has served well as a District 4 Kent County Commissioner, and has a deserved reputation as a hard working and well respected citizen and business man in his community. Mr. Rolls is thankful for the continued support of his family, friends, and constituents."

- John M. Kerala, Attorney for Gary Rolls McCroskey Law Offices

                   








Kent County commissioner Gary Rolls easily beats primary challenger
Published: Tuesday, August 07, 2012, 10:35 PM
Updated: Wednesday, August 08, 2012, 1:22 AM
The Grand Rapids Press
By Rick Wilson
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/08/kent_county_commissioner_gary.html

GRAND RAPIDS – Incumbent Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls, R-Ada Township, has withstood a Republican Primary challenge from Neil Mills in the county’s District 4 race.

Rolls bested Mills handily 2,274 to 988 in the race which centered largely on Rolls’ support for the county’s controversial Purchase of Development Rights program and Mills’ opposition to it.

Rolls will face Democrat Thomas Golden in the November General Election. The race is one of only five contests for county board seats this year.