On September 19, 2023, Gerald “Jerry” Sutter, age 70, was sentenced to 10 to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal sexual conduct with a 16-year-old boy at his Lansing Township home between 2019 and 2021. 

For more than 50 years, Sutter worked in youth sports, principally in the Mid-Michigan area, but he also traveled around the State of Michigan to referee. Also known as “Dewey,” he coached and officiated both girls and boys in youth through college-level sports. We have information to believe he was involved with high school football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, as well as many other youth sports.  

Sutter was registered through the Michigan High School Sports Association (MHSSA) for 50 years. MHSSA reportedly suspended Sutter once they learned of the criminal sexual assault charges.  

Sutter used his role as a referee, coach, and mentor to groom his victims. It has been reported that he may have lured young children with gifts and showered them with attention. In our experience, this type of grooming is what many predators use to make their intended victims feel that they have a safe and trusted bond with them. Once that bond is established, then sexual abuse will slowly begin. We saw similar types of grooming activities with Larry Nassar and the many young women he abused. 

At his sentencing hearing in September, the prosecution reported that many former victims had come forward. In fact, the Ingham County Sherriff’s Office believes there may be numerous other victims out there based on the evidence they found when executing a search warrant on Sutter’s home. Lansing officials stated, “Anyone who has played or has children who played sports in this area [Lansing] likely has had games officiated by Sutter.”

If Gerald Sutter abused you or a loved one, we want to hear from you. Sommers Schwartz senior shareholder, Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller, has represented survivors of sexual abuse, including those who were abused by Larry Nassar at Michigan State University, as well as the late Robert Anderson at the University of Michigan. Please contact Lisa for a free, 100% confidential, no-obligation consultation today. You may still have time to seek justice for the abuse you suffered.