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Recall effort underway against Branch County Prosecutor Ralph Kimble

Branch County Prosecutor Ralph Kimble is facing a recall effort as residents seek to remove the embattled prosecutor from office. (FILE)

Branch County Prosecutor Ralph Kimble is facing a recall effort as residents seek to remove the embattled prosecutor from office.

The Michigan Bureau of Elections received the recall petition Thursday.

The recall effort comes as Kimble is being investigated for criminal sexual conduct by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Kimble also has been investigated by a panel of Branch County judges who found reason to believe Kimble violated professional standards and The Civil Rights Act.

Back in November, the Newschannel 3 I-Team interviewed two women who said they were sexually harassed by the two-term prosecutor. In December, the I-Team uncovered a 74-page police report in which Michigan State Police requested criminal sexual conduct charges against Kimble. Those charges were denied because a key witness refuses to cooperate.

Now, residents in Branch County are pushing for a recall. In Michigan, a prosecutor can be removed from office only by the governor or if they lose a recall election.

Coldwater business owner Alexia Rish is organizing the recall effort. Rish said it’s time for new leadership at the Branch County Courthouse.

"Five judges wouldn't stand up and complain if there wasn’t proof that he's been up to something,” Rish said. “One person being molested is too much, and reports have it that this has been going on for years."

The state Board of Canvassers will meet at 10 a.m. Jan. 30, in room 424 of the State Capitol Building, to review the recall petition for clarity and accept testimony.

According to state law, to set a recall election, petitioners must collect signatures equal to 25 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the past election in Branch County. That means nearly 3,000 signatures must be collected.

Rish said she will be holding several meetings at her business in the coming weeks to organize the recall effort.


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