Case assigned to Barry County prosecutor
Taylor Owens Staff Writer
Potterville City Police Chief Shane Bartlett was arraigned Wednesday, May 1, on three felony charges for misconduct in office, lying to an officer and falsifying a police report.
The charges stem from a lengthy investigation by the Michigan State Police that began with a sexual assault complaint made by Bartlett's wife, Kellie, against an Eaton County Sheriff's deputy.
Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt is charging that Shane Bartlett aided and abetted his wife in falsifying the report. Pratt was appointed by the state attorney general's office to handle the case when Eaton County Prosecutor Douglas Lloyd recused himself, since Lloyd's office works with the officers involved.
Investigators said suspicions about a statement by the police chief arose early in the sexual assault case, but it has taken several months to analyze the police chief's phone and office computer records.
According to the Barry County prosecutor, while Kellie Bartlett was working as a clerk for the Eaton County Sheriff's Office in late 2015, she and a deputy began a relationship. The deputy ended the relationship in spring 2017, and requested that Kellie? Bartlett cease contact with him.
When Kellie? Bartlett continued to contact him, the deputy told his superiors, and a team was assigned to investigate Kellie Bartlett for stalking.
Kellie Bartlett ceased working for the department in December 2017 and in January 2018 contacted the Michigan State Police to file the sexual assault complaint against the deputy, which she alleged occurred in March 2017.
Following an investigation, the stalking and sexual assault cases were turned over to Eaton County Prosecutor Douglas Lloyd, who recused himself, and the case was turned over to the Barry County Prosecutor's office in spring 2018.
Kellie Bartlett was charged with multiple felony counts in September 2018, including two counts of using a computer to commit a crime, two counts of identity theft, three counts of unauthorized access to a computer, conspiracy and one count of false reporting of a felony. Misdemeanors include two counts of stalking, one count of intentional dissemination of sexually explicit visual material and two counts of using a computer to commit a crime.
The case against Kellie Bartlett is pending in Eaton County Circuit Court.
Shane Bartlett was arraigned on charges including a common-law offense of misconduct in office, which is a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine; lying to a peace officer in a violent crime investigation, a felony with a maximum penalty of four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine; a false report of a felony, a felony with a maximum penalty of four years in prison and/or $2,000 fine. His bail was set at $10,000.
Potterville City Manager Aaron Sheridan placed Shane Bartlett on paid administrative leave May 1, pending review of the issue by the Potterville City Council.
“Until the city's review is complete, we will have no further comment on this matter and would direct any additional inquiries to the Barry County Prosecutor's Office,” Sheridan said.
He also appointed Potterville City Police Officer Richard Barry as interim police chief, after consulting with the mayor and city attorney.
“I have found Officer Barry to be an extremely helpful and skilled officer, and he has my full confidence in his skills, training, education and experience necessary to perform the duties of the position,” Sheridan said.
The city management has also requested additional police coverage from the Eaton County Sheriff's Office.