Oakridge Schools continue internal probe into teacher-misconduct claim

MUSKEGON, Mich.  —  The Oakridge Public Schools say they will continue an internal investigation into a teacher/coach’s alleged inappropriate conduct. But the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office has announced that criminal charges will not be filed.

Investigators say one of the allegations was that a coach touched a student athlete “in a way that made the athlete feel uncomfortable.”

The alleged misconduct was reported to Oakridge school leaders on December 14th. The Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office was apprised of the allegations on December 17th. The school district says in a Friday news release the internal investigation will be to determine whether the alleged incidents were in violation of school Board policy.

The Prosecutor’s Office says in a news release, “The interaction of the suspect and the student athlete was captured on multiple video monitors, which was reviewed by detectives and the Prosecutor’s Office. The videos show the coach demonstrating to the athlete a technique in which the coach touched the student athlete in an area of her body that made her feel uncomfortable.”

The Prosecutor’s Office says the Sheriff’s Office also received some phone calls and Silent Observer tips, and made arrangements for each student involved to be interviewed by experts at the Muskegon County Child Abuse Council.

“After interviewing numerous witnesses, meeting with several families, and reviewing the multiple school video recordings, we have determined that the activity does not meet the threshold for criminal charges. In making this determination, it should be noted that the student athletes and the witnesses were found to be honest and credible. However, investigators cannot rule out that the touching was accidental and, therefore, no charges can be filed.”

According to the Oakridge school district, “School leaders contacted local authorities immediately after placing the teacher/coach on administrative leave. We extend our appreciation to the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office for their prompt and thorough investigation.

Anyone with more information about the case should contact the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office at (231)-724-6351.

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