Grand Blanc High School teacher accused of sexually abusing student
Police say a 16-year-old girl was in Michael Paris’ English class when communication started in 2014
GRAND BLANC, Mich. (WJRT) - A Grand Blanc High School teacher resigned just weeks before a former female student accused him of sexual abuse.
Police say the student was 16 when the alleged ongoing sexual abuse started more than six years ago. Michael Paris is now charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after investigators say he groomed the student into having sex with him.
Paris taught English at Grand Blanc High School. Administrators say he put in his two week notice in February, saying he was pursuing other employment opportunities.
But just two days before his resignation took effect, the parents of his alleged victim told the administration he sexually abused their daughter.
“Victim’s doing OK, but obviously has some concerns on how this all goes forward,” said Det. Ryan Rouse with the Grand Blanc City Police Department.
Rouse, who serves as the Grand Blanc Community Schools resource officer, said school administrators contacted him immediately when they learned of the allegations on March 10.
Rouse said the student was 16 when the inappropriate conduct started in November 2014. The student took a class with Paris, who is now 34 years old. Communication started with text messages and picked up after she was out of Paris’ class.
“They started communicating and it then turned into a sexual relationship from there,” Rouse said.
He isn’t sharing how long the abuse lasted, but he confirmed the student graduated and the inappropriate sexual conduct had already ended when she spoke up this year. It’s unclear why she came forward when she did.
Rouse has spent the last several weeks piecing the case together.
“I did attempt to talk with Mr. Paris in that situation. He declined to have an interview with me at that point in time and then I submitted it to the prosecutor’s office for review,” he said.
Paris was booked into the Genesee County Jail and posted bond so he could be released. He’s facing up to 15 years in prison for the three felony charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Grand Blanc Community Schools placed Paris on administrative leave for the final two days of employment at the school. The administration says an internal investigation is under way despite the fact that he no longer works for the district.
“The process of getting through this, you know, as it unfolds for everybody is difficult,” Rouse added.
He shared Michael Paris was a beloved teacher in the district and many across the community are in shock about the allegations.
He wanted to remind the school community counseling is available for students and staff at Grand Blanc High School.
“It really is hard to swallow,” said Voices For Children Advocacy Center Executive Director Nyse Holloman. “You’re just like, how did this happen, how does this happen, especially when we know that kids -- every kid goes to school right? And so you’re wondering how do you protect your children, how do you protect your grandchildren, what do we do?”
Holloman explained being aware is key. As a parent, she said don’t hesitate to look through children’s phones -- know what apps they’re using and how those work, don’t let them have too much alone time with technology and keep an eye on text messages.
Investigators said that’s how Paris started engaging in alleged sexual abuse of his student.
Holloman wasn’t surprised, saying that’s how the majority of their cases right now started. Because, she explained, simply texting isn’t crossing the line.
“If you’re talking about getting help with schoolwork, it’s one thing,” Holloman said. “But if it starts going into personal conversations, those are not things that teachers need to know about.”
Holloman asks that parents take the time to open a line of conversation.
“Make sure that your kid knows that if they make a mistake, if they end up sending an inappropriate picture, they decide that they have a crush on somebody, that you are an OK person for them to come and talk to you,” she said.
To educate kids, the center is also working with school districts right now. Holloman said they’re hoping to get into classrooms to share what grooming looks like and what’s inappropriate behavior on a cell phone.
For parents, the center hosts an app safety training and text lingo information session online each month.
Click here for more information.
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