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Detroit Free Press Article on Erin's lawsuit

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

DFP Article on Erin's case re: the Federal 42 USC § 1983 action.

Paul Egan Detroit Free Press


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A northern Michigan mom who was cleared of a rarely used charge of felony eavesdropping amid a fight with her school district has filed a $20 million lawsuit against school and local law enforcement officials.

Erin Chaskey of Onaway, who is alleging defamation, false arrest, malicious prosecution and other violations of her civil rights, filed her amended complaint in federal court late last week.

Presque Isle County officials seized Chaskey's iPhone and charged her criminally after she overheard two school officials talking about her in 2021 and used the phone to record their conversation.

But in March of this year, Presque Isle County Circuit Court Judge Aaron Gauthier dismissed the charge. Gauthier said there was no evidence Chaskey was in a non-public area of her son's school when she recorded the conversation the superintendent was having with a school board member, inside his office with the door open.

"The defendants in this complaint conspired against Ms. Chaskey in a prosecution they knew was fraudulent, simply to silence her and protect themselves from the truth being released to the public," Hillsdale attorney Daren Wiseley, who represents Chaskey, said in an amended complaint filed Thursday.

More:Judge dismisses eavesdropping charge against Up North mom who challenged school officials

More:Onaway mom charged with eavesdropping after recording superintendent

"Defendants' motive was to humiliate Ms. Chaskey and silence her from further action in exposing them."

Chaskey said the worst part of the drama was being banned from school property. The suit alleges school officials kept her partly banned from school property, even after the charge was dismissed.

First reported by the Free Press, the case arises from a skirmish in the classroom culture wars taking place across Michigan and the nation. Chaskey, a self-described conservative, had been trying to get the board to rein in or remove a high school civics teacher she believes is too liberal.

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At the time she made the recording, Chaskey's son was a sophomore at Onaway High School, though he was not a student in the class of veteran teacher Kymberli Wregglesworth. Among other complaints, Chaskey has objected to books related to systemic racism that Wregglesworth sought to include in her lessons and an alleged remark in which she told a student his "white privilege" was showing. School officials have defended Wregglesworth.

Chaskey spoke out at school board meetings and said school officials were not following their own procedures with respect to curriculum, and lacked other plans that should have been in place.

Named as defendants are the school district, the county, Sheriff Joseph Brewbaker, Prosecutor Kenneth Radzibon, and five current or former school officials.

Other counts alleged by Chaskey include unlawful seizure, retaliation, gross negligence, conspiracy to interfere with her civil rights, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Defendants have not yet filed answers to the complaint, which was initially filed June 21 and is assigned to U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington in Bay City.

Brewbaker told the Free Press in 2021 he only briefly reviewed the file before sending it on to Radzibon. He said he does not believe the charge was retaliatory because Radzibon would not have given approval if it was. Radzibon has not responded to phone messages seeking comment. Both he and Brewbaker are elected Republicans.


Then entirety of both of Erin's Cases can be viewed at this link:

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