By Gary Ridley, originally published by The Flint Journal on September 15, 2016.
MUNDY TWP., MI – Prosecutors claim police officers drove Mateen Cleaves home after they were called to a motel for an alleged sex assault involving the ex-basketball star while leaving the victim to find her own ride home.
Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey made the claim Thursday, Sept. 15, during a hearing on two motions in the Cleaves prosecution.
Lindsey was arguing a motion seeking to limit questioning from Cleaves’ attorney, Frank J. Manley, into the mental health history of the alleged victim when she made the claim about the ride given to Cleaves.
Genesee District Judge M. Cathy Dowd cited the claim when she denied Lindsey’s motion, saying it could draw the alleged victim’s credibility into question when she eventually testifies in the case.
“If she had alleged a rape, why was she not immediately taken to the hospital and a rape kit done,” Dowd asked rhetorically while explaining her ruling.
Lindsey attempted to cut in to Dowd’s explanation, but the judge stopped her before she could argue the issue.
A brief shouting match ensued between the judge and prosecutor, with Lindsey ultimately going silent after Dowd called a jail deputy to the front of the courtroom.
Manley jumped on the claims, arguing it showed officers believed his client did not commit any crime.
“Clearly, through Ms. Lindsey and the court’s testimony, officers saw nothing that would rise to the level of some type of crime,” Manley said after the hearing.
The officer’s actions after the alleged attack have been at issue since the case began earlier this year.
Officer Brian Ogle filed a lawsuit May 4 alleging he was disciplined by the Mundy Township Police Department after he allegedly reported violations of state law by the township to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, which is handling the Cleaves investigation.
Ogle claims he was involved in the Cleaves investigation, which began in September 2015. The lawsuit alleges he “found himself at odds” with the township and police department because he would not “portray Mr. Cleaves as guilty of sexual assault.”
The lawsuit claims Ogle emailed a Wayne County prosecutor investigating the Cleaves case on Nov. 17, 2015, reporting “suspected violations of Michigan state law and/or regulations” committed by the township and its police department.
On Feb. 4, the lawsuit alleged Ogle was notified in writing that the township found him in violation of township rules and regulations “stemming from an incident including Mateen Cleaves” that occurred Sept. 15, 2015.
He was suspended for two days without pay on Feb. 25 for his role in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office investigation into Cleaves, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit does not provide further details on the alleged state laws violated or who violated them.
Mundy Township police Chief Dan Atkinson could not be reached for comment on Lindsey’s allegations.
The township has denied Freedom of Information Act requests and appeals from MLive-The Flint Journal seeking information on its handling of the case.
The lawsuit is still pending in Genesee Circuit Court.
Cleaves, 39, was arraigned March 16 on multiple felony charges, including counts of unlawful imprisonment and criminal sexual conduct. He is currently free on a $150,000 personal recognizance bond.
Manley filed an appeal earlier this week in Genesee Circuit Court on behalf of Cleaves after Dowd denied his motion last month seeking to remove Worthy’s office from the case over a potential conflict of interest with the alleged victim.
Dowd, on Thursday, put a halt on any further hearings in the case until the appeal is heard. A hearing on the appeal has not been scheduled.
The case is being handled by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office after Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton recused himself from the case over a conflict with a potential witness.
The former Spartan and Detroit Piston was at a charity golf outing Sept. 14, 2015, where he was allegedly introduced to the victim, her boyfriend and several co-workers, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
Cleaves and the group allegedly went a local bar after the outing where they had drinks, the prosecutor claims. Around 1 a.m. they all left the bar.
The alleged victim’s boyfriend gave a friend a ride home, prosecutors say. The alleged victim, thinking they would return to the golf club, rode with Cleaves in his car, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors allege Cleaves took the victim to a motel located in the 2400 block of West Grand Blanc Road in Mundy Township, held her in a room against her will and sexually assaulted her. The victim was allegedly able to escape from the room and received assistance from a woman in a nearby room.
Police claimed in a search warrant affidavit that the victim then ran from the motel room on two separate occasions, but Cleaves caught her each time and dragged her back to the room.
A review of the motel’s surveillance video confirmed the woman’s account, according to the affidavit.
Cleaves faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors have not yet filed a response to Cleaves’ appeal.
Read full article with video of Attorney Manley addressing the media here.