Sexual assault warrant against former Grosse Pointe officer denied due to statute of limitations

Woman says Grosse Pointe police officer assaulted her when she was 16 years old

By Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor, Derick Hutchinson

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. - A woman came forward to say a Grosse Pointe police officer sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old, but the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said the statute of limitations has passed.

Ellie Scandirito said she was sexually assaulted 19 years ago by Matt Pater, then a 35-year-old Grosse Pointe police officer, while she was working as a secretary.

Michigan State Police investigated Scandirito's claims and sent a warrant request for Pater, but the request was denied Tuesday because the statute of limitations has expired.

"The warrant has been denied because it is barred by the statute of limitations," Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said. "This decision has been made solely based upon the law and not on the merits of the allegations."

"It inspires me to work even further and share my story wider so if there are other people, perhaps they'll hear my voice and see my face," Scandirito said.

Scandirito admitted she's disappointed that no charges will be pressed against Pater, but she understands that she waited too long to report her case.

"They've passed these new laws and some people are able to benefit from the changes but then other people, like myself, are not, specifically because of the statutes and the age of consent," Scandirito said.

In her complaint, Scandirito said Pater sexually assaulted her multiple times while she was a receptionist at a Detroit nursing home.

"He would use language like, 'If you tell anyone about this, you could lose your job,'" Scandirito said.

She said Pater was an off-duty Grosse Pointe police officer at the time, working at the nursing home as a security guard.

"He closed the door," Scandirito said. "He put his hands on my shoulders and pushed me down. He unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis and stuck it in my mouth. He eventually pulled away. I was crying. He zipped up his pants and walked me to his car and said I did a good job and I would get used to this."

The Local 4 Defenders obtained Pater's personnel file from the Grosse Pointe Police Department. In it were salacious emails sent from Pater to Scandirito.

"There isn't a part of the body I wouldn't lick, suck or kiss," Pater wrote in an email. "Do you understand now or do I need to show you?"

The Defenders learned that even though Grosse Pointe police were made aware of the accusations, no investigation was conducted.

Local 4 tracked down Pater, who currently works as a police officer in Harbor Springs, Michigan.

"Do you have anything you want to say?" Local 4 Defender Karen Drew asked.

"No," Pater said.

"I don't have any reason to doubt Ellie's story," Sen. Curtis Hertel said. "Too often, we doubt women that come forward (with) no reason monetarily to come forward. She is only coming forward (because) she believes what happened to her is important and that people have a right to know who this person is who did this to her."

Scandirito and Hertel plan to work together to change Michigan law so victims of sexual attacks can get justice.

"Make some adjustments, because our current laws don't support victims and survivors," Hertel said. "They're supporting predators."

Scandirito said that, when she was 16 years old, she didn't have any examples of strong women coming forward to report these types of attacks. She said she didn't think it was an option until recently, when she became aware of the #MeToo movement.

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