State lawmaker accused of abusing wife in divorce filing ⋆

A state lawmaker has been accused by his estranged wife of subjecting her to “mental, emotional and physical abuse throughout the years of marriage.”

Sheila Bezotte, the wife of state Rep. Bob Bezotte, (R-Howell), made the claims in a divorce petition filed Nov. 30 in Livingston County Circuit Court. The couple have been married for 51 years, but in the filing Sheila Bezotte maintains that there had been a “breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.”

Bezotte, who was Livingston County’s sheriff for 12 years, denied “as untrue” that his wife suffered from any abuse during their marriage, although he did concede there had been a “breakdown of the marriage relationship.” The nature of the breakdown was not disclosed by either party in the court documents, which were obtained by the .

Rep. Bezotte’s office told the Advance that he “would not like to comment on anything related to his personal life right now.”

In response to the divorce filing, first reported by The Detroit News, the Michigan Democratic Party noted on social media that Bezotte voted against legislation that prevents domestic abusers from owning or purchasing guns. 

“Now his wife of 50 years is accusing him of physical and emotional abuse. Voters deserve answers—including whether he used his position as county Sheriff to prevent earlier reports?” they questioned.

When asked, current Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy told the Advance that looking at their records, which go back about 20 years, there were no calls that came from the residence other than an incident in July 2019 when a grandchild was playing with a phone and dialed 911.  

A pretrial hearing in the case is set for February 23 in front of Livingston County Probate Court Chief Judge Miriam Cavanaugh. The original judge in the case, Circuit Judge Suzanne Geddis, recused herself after her husband, Bill McCririe, was hired to represent Rep. Bezotte. State campaign finance records also show McCririe donated more than $91,000 to Geddis’ 2018 campaign.

However, before Geddis disqualified herself on Dec. 5, she issued a mutual restraining order preventing either party from transfering, moving, hiding, or dispersing their marital assets. It also required that the “status quo” be maintained in regards to “paying all ongoing expenses as they were paid during the course of the marriage, including but not limited to mortgage/rent, taxes, insurance, utilities, automobile expenses, cellular phone bills, groceries, clothing, healthcare, credit cards in any other household and personal expenses for the Plaintiff.”

In her filing, Sheila Bezotte said she feared her husband would “stop contributing financially to the marital home as well as the bills he has been paying for years,” noting that she is unemployed and “has been a stay-at-home wife and mother for 52 years.”

Following his 12 years as the Livingston County sheriff, Bezotte served on the Livingston County Board of Commissioners from 2016 through 2020 before being elected to the 50th Michigan House District in November 2020. He handily won reelection in 2022. 

 



authored by Jon King
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2023%2F12%2F09%2Fstate-lawmaker-accused-of-abusing-wife-in-divorce-filing%2F

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