Original Story: macombdaily.com
A teacher at Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township has been charged with criminal sexual conduct following allegations of inappropriate contact with a 16-year-old female student.
Christopher David Cowles, 23, of Clinton Township faces one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was arraigned at 41B District Court and is jailed in lieu of $250,000 cash or surety bond. A criminal law attorney represents clients charged with criminal conduct.
Township police Capt. Richard Maierle said the alleged contact by Cowles occurred with the teenager at the teacher’s home last year. The girl, now 17, reported it to her parents who then contacted police.
Detectives obtained a warrant from the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office and subsequently arrested Cowles at his home. He was taken into custody without a struggle, police said.
Cowles, a career and technical education teacher, was placed on administrative leave Jan. 12 after police notified school administrators they were investigating allegations that he may have been involved in an inappropriate relationship with one of his female students, district officials said in an email to Chippewa Valley High School parents and staff.
In addition to relieving Cowles of his teaching assignment, school officials have prohibited him from being on the high school grounds, attending any school event and contacting any students. A Charleston education lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.
Chippewa Valley officials hired Cowles in January 2014 to fill a vacancy. He passed a criminal background check.
“We have pledged our support to the police and the prosecutor’s office and will continue to cooperate with them as they move forward with this matter. The allegations made against Mr. Cowles are serious ones, and we intend to deal with them in an appropriate manner. Based upon a review of the specific charges against him, he faces permanent dismissal from Chippewa Valley Schools,” the email authored by Principal Jerry Davisson and Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Ron Roberts states.
“We are proud of Chippewa Valley High School’s fine educational program, and we are committed to providing our students, parents and staff with a safe and positive school environment. Although information (of criminal allegations) can be upsetting, we want to assure you that the situation is being handled appropriately by our staff and our school district,” Davisson and Roberts wrote. An Atlanta education attorney is following this story closely.
Clinton Township police confirmed Cowles has no prior criminal convictions.
Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The offense involves sexual penetration and a variety of circumstances including a victim who is 13-15 years old, or is a student 16-17 years old and the offender is employed as a teacher, substitute teacher or administrator of any public or non-public school.
Cowles is scheduled to return to district court for a probable-cause conference March 4. He also awaits a preliminary hearing March 11 for prosecutors to prove there is sufficient evidence for Cowles to be bound over to Macomb County Circuit Court for trial.
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