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Teacher in metro Detroit area allegedly sexually assaulted, harassed female students

Posted at 10:33 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 22:33:39-04
(WXYZ) —
Troy School District statement on allegations:
We have immense sympathy for any victim of sexual assault, but have no information regarding what was alleged at a press conference today. The individual in question never worked for the Troy School District as a teacher or in any capacity, nor do we have any record of any student coming forward with allegations or concerns to any school official or to the District. We are aware that he graduated from one of our high schools in 1996 and came back to participate in at least two productions as an alumnus, but he was never in a position of authority or charged with supervision of students. We contacted Troy Police, who tell us they have no active case involving this individual.
We take any allegation of this nature very seriously and have indicated our willingness to fully cooperate with police should any case develop.

Several women in the metro Detroit area allege that a teacher sexually assaulted and harassed them when they attended middle and high school in two Oakland County districts.

Attorneys say the teacher has taught music and theater arts, most recently at North Farmington High School and possible Power Middle School.

Emmalee Forrester is the first person to publicly accuse the man who is a current high school teacher in the Farmington school district.

“We need justice. We will no longer let anyone silence us we are so strong now,“ she said.

In a Facebook post last month, Forrester came forward, accusing the man of grooming her throughout her time in Clarenceville High School in Livonia starting when she was a freshman in 2014.

We are withholding the teacher’s name because he has not been criminally charged.

The alleged harassment in the district reportedly spanned from 2009 to 2018; the youngest victim was 13 years old at the time of the misconduct, attorneys say.

Most of the women who have come forward were in middle and high school choir and theater programs in the Clarenceville School District. Another victim said she was sexually assaulted by the teacher in 2005 when she was a 16-year-old student at Troy Athens.

“He would find ways to brush up against them with his groin and touch them in their inner thighs, their arms and on their lower backs," Attorney Elaina Bailey said.

The teacher allegedly made sexually suggestive and explicit comments about the way each female student dressed and the way clothes looked on their bodies. He also reportedly invited victims to clean his house to earn extra money, shared his personal cell phone number and instructed them to only contact him through apps like Snapchat and Telegram, where he would allegedly send illicit texts and photos.

Some say the man sexually assaulted them in his Berkley home.

Forrester said at the time, she and a friend notified the principal at Clarenceville High school about the teacher’s behavior, but said their cry for help wasn’t taken seriously.

“I wasn’t wrong," she said. "I just had a school district that failed me, now that I’ve come to learn, has failed many of us.”

Clarenceville Schools put out a statement saying in part, the district “...followed its established policies, worked with the appropriate authorities, and sought to respond both compassionately and in a fashion that reflected due process for everyone concerned when the concerns were originally raised and fully investigated.”

The women will be filing a civil lawsuit.

We’re told police are investigating, but no charges have been filed so far.

Attorney Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller has this message for the teacher: “The truth is coming to light, you cannot hide from it, you cannot run from it.”

The teacher was placed on paid administrative leave by the Farmington School District after social media activity from parents accusing him of sexual misconduct.

More victims are encouraged to come forward and share their story. Contact the attorneys here.

Farmington, Clarenceville and Troy school districts responded with the following statements.

Farmington Public Schools statement

Clarenceville School District Important Statement –September 9, 2020
The District has been made aware of a press release from a local law firm regarding a former employee of our District. As always, our District’s deepest commitment is to the health, safety, and welfare of our students. Beyond physical health and well-being, our commitment extends to all aspects of the student experience, including addressing any allegations of misconduct that might arise. In every such instance, the District seeks to respond immediately when we learn of allegations from or in relation to individuals within our school community. When allegations such as those contained within the press release surface, questions about how the District responded naturally follow. The District wants to make it clear that when concerns were shared during the former employee’s employment, the District promptly followed its established policies and fully investigated the concerns. To the extent that new allegations have been advanced, we are committed to fully cooperating with law enforcement to examine any such concerns from this former employee’s time with the District. The District does not discuss student or personnel matters in a public forum or comment on pending litigation of any kind. At the same time, the District wants to emphasize its commitment to working with and supporting all individuals within our school community.
Statement on allegations:
We have immense sympathy for any victim of sexual assault, but have no information regarding what was alleged at a press conference today. The individual in question never worked for the Troy School District as a teacher or in any capacity, nor do we have any record of any student coming forward with allegations or concerns to any school official or to the District. We are aware that he graduated from one of our high schools in 1996 and came back to participate in at least two productions as an alumnus, but he was never in a position of authority or charged with supervision of students. We contacted Troy Police, who tell us they have no active case involving this individual.
We take any allegation of this nature very seriously and have indicated our willingness to fully cooperate with police should any case develop.