On Monday, April 16, 2018, I appeared before the Orion Township Board of Trustees to comment on a pending issue in the township. My comments, in part, were as follows:
“Mr. Chairman [Supervisor Chris Barnett], I am responding to your statement in the March 29, 2018 Lake Orion Review article. In regard to Trustee Ron Sliwinski’s sexual harassment/assault and battery case, to which he has pled No Contest, you stated that the township had received no e-mails, phone calls or other communications calling for this trustee’s resignation. I am stunned!
In this era of #Me Too, we are no longer condoning nor tolerating sexual harassment in the workplace or anywhere else. U. S. Senators and Representatives have done the right thing and resigned their seats when their inexcusable behavior was made public.
Can we expect no less from our local officials? In fact, we expect more.
Ron Sliwinski represented himself as a loving father and husband, a respected teacher and coach; an active member in his HOA and community. He deceived all of us. We voters of Orion Township were duped. Had his behavior been public knowledge in November 2016, I can say with certainty that he would not have won a seat on the board.
My parents taught me that a person’s worth was only as good as his or her word. In other words, your word is your bond.
In his email dated May 2017 to his victim and published in The Lake Orion Review in February of this year, he acknowledged his misbehavior and in order to “do better” (my words) he would resign from the board, the HOA and other positions. Yet here we are eleven months and two weeks later and he still sits on this board.”
On the eve of his court date, I am asking for this trustee to man up, do the decent thing, keep his word and resign. By resigning, he will avoid subjecting his wife, family and friends to the further embarrassment of a recall petition effort. Thank you for your time.”
The next day, Judge Julie Nicholson (52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills) sentenced him to 14 days in jail, with credit for one day served. He was also sentenced to 24 months probation, ordered to pay $1,125 in court costs, ordered to enroll in a mental health program, prohibited from consuming alcohol or any other controlled substance and subject to random testing. Further, he must make restitution to his victim in the amount of $2,200. (Source: The Lake Orion Review, April 18, 2018].
As evident by her sentencing, Judge Julie Nicholson did not take his criminal behavior lightly. And neither should we Orion citizens.
The repeated sexual harassment of his fellow teacher demonstrates his lack of moral character, sound judgment, good decision-making skills and lack of compassion for his victim or his family.
What type of person has the audacity to run for public office while engaging in this criminal behavior? Is this a man we can trust making sound decisions for our community? I think not.
My heart goes out to his wife, children, friends and family for the humiliation and hurt his actions have caused them. My heart also goes out to the victim for the torture of sexual harassment she endured.
I can only hope that the punishment and subsequent rehabilitation helps Mr. Sliwinski and his family to put this behind them.
Hopefully, while sitting in jail, he realizes he can no longer effectively represent the citizens of Orion Township and resigns from the board.
Cheryl Crowl Clark
Concerned Orion citizen