ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – It was a story that made local headlines in March of 2020. Michael Frey, 46, of Elmira was arrested, charged, and later indicted on charges connected to assaulting a woman with a baseball bat and having sex with his dog.
He said he didn’t do it and was later cleared of the vile and serious sexual crime he was charged with. But the stigma around it still haunts him to this day.
It was Sunday, March 1, 2020, when, according to a police report obtained by 18 News, a woman, who we’ll call the “alleged victim,” called 911. She reported to the dispatcher that Frey struck her in the head with a baseball bat after an argument. The two were in a relationship at the time, and the alleged victim was living with Frey at his Elmira home. But that’s not all she told the dispatcher. She claimed Frey was having sex with one of his dogs, his pit bull Casper.
Frey was arrested and said he spent thousands of dollars to post bail. He lost his job, custody of his son, and his dogs, all while the scorn of the public weighed down on him.
“When the lawyer told me they wanted to give you two years for this,” Frey said. “It blew my mind. I was like, I’m gonna go to jail for something that I really did not do. I was like, I’m not pleading guilty to that. You’re gonna take me to trial, then let’s go,” he continued.
A fact-finding trial got underway in Chemung County Court in January of 2021. In court documents obtained by 18 News, a biological sciences case report from the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center was beyond doubt. A sexual offense evidence collection kit performed on Frey’s dog found no traces of human DNA. Under sworn testimony, Dr. J. Thomas Ross said “The medical records provided offer no evidence of animal abuse.” He went on to say, “In my years of experience with dogs. It would be hard to imagine a dog of this size and breed tolerating these alleged activities.”
As for the baseball bat? Court records show a bat was never located at Frey’s home, and the injuries reported by the alleged victim didn’t match up.
Frey ended up taking a plea deal, he was convicted on January 25, 2021, on a much lesser charge: 3rd-degree Assault, a misdemeanor. Frey was sentenced to three years probation.
“It really sums up the tragic part of our criminal justice system,” said Frey’s defense attorney Matthew Buzzetti. “It’s really easy to make allegations. It’s not easy to fix things after they’ve been proven wrong. I think that’s what Mike’s case goes to the heart of that exact thing,” Buzzetti continued.
As for the alleged victim, Frey ended what he called their toxic relationship and cut off contact. Today he has his son and dogs back, a new job, and he’s moving forward with his life.
18 News did contact the alleged victim for comment on this case. She declined to talk with us.