by: Steve Kelso
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Big Rapids man says he is being accused of fondling a woman dressed in an Easter Bunny costume at a drug store.
“It’s pretty stupid,” Michael Dodge told 24 Hour News 8.
Saturday, Dodge said, he and his wife took their grandchildren to a Big Rapids Walgreens to meet and have photos taken with the Easter Bunny. The children became upset by the large rabbit costume. So, Dodge said, he tried to make them more comfortable by taking a few photos with the bunny to show them there was nothing to fear. In one of those photos, he hugged the woman wearing the Easter Bunny costume.
The next morning, he got a call from the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, asking him to come to the station for an interview. The woman in the Easter Bunny costume, Dodge says police told him, alleged he had fondled her.
Big Rapids DPS Sgt. Danielle Brennan confirmed to 24 Hour News 8 Monday the department is looking into an incident at the Walgreens. She said the investigation is still open and that the case has not yet been forwarded to the Mecosta County Prosecutor’s Office, so she could not provide further comment. It’s not yet clear what, if any, charges Dodge may face.
Dodge’s wife called 24 Hour News 8 about the allegations on Monday.
The police were not called to the Walgreens while Dodge and his family were there, he said, and he said he did not know he had been accused of anything until the Sunday morning phone call.
“I believe it was a false accusation,” he said.
He said he didn’t know why the woman would make up the allegation.
“I don’t know. Ask them,” he said.
Neither Walgreens nor Big Rapids police would provide the identity of the woman playing the Easter Bunny, so 24 Hour News 8 could not contact her for comment. Additionally, neither Walgreens nor police would provide more comment about the allegations connected to the incident.
Dodge does have a criminal history, mostly made up of misdemeanors. He has faced charges of larceny and false pretenses — or lying to get what he wanted. Dodge admits that he has had previous contact with law enforcement, but said sex crimes are ‘not his MO.’
Dodge said he was told he would be arrested if he went back to the Walgreens.