Erich Fritz, a former officer with the Covert Police Department in Van Buren County, is accused of sexually assaulting someone after a drunk driving arrest. Fritz had apparently only been an officer with that force for two months before these allegations were made. Fritz resigned from the police department.
According to Detective Sergeant Shane Criger of the Michigan State Police, who provided testimony at a recent probable cause hearing, the incident happened after Fritz pulled over a drunk driver on July 9th. He arrested the man behind the wheel. The driver is accused of being drunk but it was the passenger in the vehicle that Fritz is said to have assaulted.
The woman passenger that was riding in the car said that she had met the driver that night at the bar and was going home with him. In her later statement to Michigan State Police investigators, the woman claimed that she had been “extremely intoxicated’ and because her ride had just been arrested, she didn’t know where she would stay that night.
Fritz, still in uniform and on active duty, allegedly then took the woman to a hotel room in Paw Paw where he was staying. He is said to have told her to take a shower and left her there so that he could take the drunk driver to jail. The woman told investigators that she showered and then passed out on the bed. After booking the driver, Fritz returned to the hotel room and had sex with the woman. What is in question now is whether or not that sex was consensual.
According to Van Buren County Prosecutor Michael Bedford, the woman was so intoxicated that she urinated on herself in the patrol car. She is also heard on the dashboard camera repeatedly stating that she has no idea where she was or what was going on. She also mentions a number of times that she is afraid.
After dropping the woman off at a hotel, Fritz left her there but took her ID and credit card with him when he left, leaving her without the option of getting a different room or calling a cab. When she woke up, the woman claims Fritz was already having sex with her. Bedford argues that Fritz took advantage of the woman. “There were so many other options.” he said. But the criminal defense attorney for Fritz attorney disagrees claiming that the sex was entirely consensual.
Fritz has been charged with two counts of First-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of Kidnapping. Under Michigan law, these are both serious felonies punishable by up to life in prison. Fritz’s bond was set at $30,000. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 9th.