Whittemore-Prescott schools reeling from teacher's suicide, sex assault claims

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ARENAC COUNTY (WJRT) (1/7/2019) - The apparent suicide of a teacher in Arenac County left investigators looking into the possibility that he sexually abused children.

The 25-year-old Arenac County man actually admitted to sexually abusing young children in an email he sent to fellow staff members at Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools before apparently taking his own life.

Police are now trying to determine if there are abuse victims.

Arenac County Sheriff Jim Mosciski said the teacher, who is not being identified, lived in the Turner area. He had emailed staff at Whittemore-Prescott schools about his plan to end his life.

"Persons that received the email contacted the sheriff's department. Two officers responded to the scene," Mosciski said.

The man was dead from a gunshot wound.

In the email that the teacher sent out, he made claims that he sexually abused children. The names of several alleged victims were in the email.

"At this point, we are contacting different people," Mosciski said. "Some of the stuff off his cell phone indicates there was abuse to possibly 15 or more children."

He believes the abuse happened years ago and the names in the email indicate they are mainly from the Au Gres area. Investigators at this point don't believe there are any victims in the Whittemore-Prescott district.

"There were no allegations made by anybody at the school at this time. That is something we are also looking into," Mosciski said.

Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools Superintendent Joseph Ferrera said the district is in shock over the suicide and that counselors were at the school buildings Monday.

He said a complete background check was done on the teacher before he was hired and there was no criminal history.

Mosciski said his deputies are trying to track down the people whose names were listed in the email.

"We want to ask them did these actually happen and what type of abuse," he said.

The school district is sending a note home to parents explaining what had happened.