Michigan’s Grand Traverse County Band has been facing a scandal involving a former Tribal Council member. Derek Bailey used to belong to the Grand Traverse County Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, but this fall he was accused of sexually abusing two underage girls. This led his wife to file for divorce and attempt to move to Alaska with their children. However, Bailey has made some accusations of his own.
Northern Michigan’s 9 & 10 News reported that Bailey was accused of abusing more than one teenage girl. One girl reported Bailey’s alleged abuse to her school’s social worker. She claimed that Bailey had been abusing her for seven years. Another girl stepped forward to say that she was abused during Bailey’s 2012 campaign for the Tribal Council. Each case, however, is being tried in the county that the acts allegedly occurred in: one in Leelanau County, the other in Grand Traverse County.
Destroying The Evidence
One of Bailey’s accusers said that he had recorded the alleged acts on an electronic device. Investigators seized Bailey’s electronic devices as evidence for his case. However, Bailey did not hand over all of his devices immediately. One of them had been re-programmed. With no hard evidence proving that these acts took place, Bailey’s case was based mostly on witness’ testimonies.
Divorce And Custody Requests
Derek Bailey’s wife, Tanya, filed for divorce last May. This was based on the accusations against her husband. According to Up North Live’s account of the trial, Mrs. Bailey said, “I was angry, I felt so hurt, and I felt so guilty.”
Mrs. Bailey has family in Alaska and wants to move there with their children. Derek Bailey’s attorney has a response to Mrs. Bailey’s request for a divorce. Mr. Bailey’s defense attorney claimed that Mrs. Bailey was using the case to discredit Mr. Bailey so the court would allow her to make this cross-country move.
It is unlikely that a court would allow Mrs. Bailey full custody of her children if she were to move to Alaska. However, a divorce lawyer might be able to argue that Mr. Bailey is an unfit parent based on the accusations he faced.
Derek Bailey was charged on November 6th with two counts of second-degree sexual conduct. Bailey is facing ten to fifteen years in prison based on the jury’s verdict. His defense attorney said, “I’ve known [Mr. Bailey] for a long, long time. I don’t think he was guilty of anything, but again the jury did their job.”
It is not yet clear whether or not Mrs. Bailey will move her children to Alaska. As was the case with the Tsimhoni custody case from earlier this year, it is tough to know which parent should be responsible for the children. In this case, Mr. Bailey has been charged and his wife will gain full custody of the children while he serves his sentence.
These cases happened in northern and eastern Michigan. It seem like it is only a matter of time before West Michigan experiences a custody battle of this magnitude. All we can hope is that the lawyers involved are doing their jobs in uncovering the truth.
(2015, Sept. 8). Derek Bailey Back In Court for More Sex Crime Charges. 9 & 10 News. Retrieved Nov. 21, 2015 from http://www.9and10news.com/story/29932999/derek-bailey-back-in-court-for-more-sex-crime-charges
Morelli, M. (2015, Nov. 4). Derek Bailey’s Wife Takes Stand In Day Two Of Trial. Up North Live. Retrieved Nov. 21, 2015 from http://upnorthlive.com/news/local/derek-baileys-wife-takes-stand-in-day-two-of-trial
Thompson, M. (2015, Nov 6). Jury Finds Derek Bailey Guilty Of Sex Crimes. Up North Live. Retrieved Nov. 21, 2015 from http://upnorthlive.com/news/local/jury-finds-derek-bailey-guilty-of-sex-crimes