Attorney of Ex-Covert Twp. officer: Alleged rape victim ‘opportunistic’

Erich Fritz allegedly assault woman after jailing her boyfriend

Erich Fritz covert township
Former Covert Township officer Erich Fritz during his video arraignment in Van Buren Co. District Court on July 22, 2016.


PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — The attorney for a former Covert Township police officer charged with rape and kidnapping called the victim “opportunistic” and said the sex was consensual.

Erich Fritz was formally charged Friday on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of kidnapping.

Fritz is accused of using force or coercion to rape the woman, causing her injury, and using his position of authority to rape her while she was incapacitated.

Police said the woman was drunk.

“I think what happened here is we have an opportunistic victim here and my opinion is there’s a vastly different version of what happened,” Fritz’s attorney, Scott Grabel, said in court while arguing for a lower bond.

The woman was riding in her boyfriend’s car when Fritz stopped her boyfriend for drunk driving on July 9.

Fritz allegedly dropped off the drunk woman at the Comfort Inn in Paw Paw before locking up the driver at the nearby Van Buren County Jail.

He is accused of then returning to the Comfort Inn after his work shift and raping the woman.

“Obviously, she’s indicating that Mr. Fritz violated her, that she was incapacitated and there’s obviously some degree of force that she’s alleging,” the defense attorney said.

The attorney said his client denied any wrongdoing.

“It was 100 percent consensual, absolutely,” he said. “He has submitted to a polygraph test and passed and we’ll probably ask the accuser to submit to one as well.”

But even the attorney questioned Fritz’s judgment.

“Listen, I don’t think it’s a good idea for Bill Clinton to get in the Oval Office and do what he did, so I don’t always approve of what people do, but the thing is there certainly is a difference between what’s a good idea and what violates a criminal law,” he said.

Fritz, who is married, had joined the Covert Township police department two months earlier and resigned shortly after the allegations. His wife was seated in the back of the courtroom during his arraignment Friday.

Fritz is expected back in court on Aug. 9 to determine if he will stand trial. He was ordered held in jail on a $30,000 bond.

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