Rose City MS teacher charged with first-degree CSC
WEST BRANCH — Rose City Middle School teacher Neal Erickson was charged and arraigned in 82nd District Court with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct Wednesday, Dec. 12.
A press release from Ogemaw County Prosecutor LaDonna Schultz said Erickson, 38, allegedly engaged in sexual acts with a male student older than 13 but younger than 16.
The incidents leading to the arrest and arraignment of Erickson occurred in 2006-2009, Schultz said.
First-degree CSC carries a maximum punishment of life in prison, according to the press release from Schultz.
Additional charges include one count of distributing sexually explicit material to a minor, a felony with a maximum sentence of two years or a $10,000 fine; one count of possession of child sexually abusive material, which is a felony punishable by up to four years and $10,000; and using a computer to commit a crime, a felony that carries a sentence of seven years in prison and $5,000.
Schultz said the Michigan State Police started an investigation into the matter in October of this year, due to an allegedly pornographic photograph in Erickson’s possession.
“Originally, it was an investigation into child pornography, and in the course of tracking down the subject of the picture, it was revealed that the teacher was having an inappropriate relationship with the student,” she said.
She added West Branch-Rose City Superintendent Dan Cwayna was informed immediately of the charges pending against Erickson.
Cwayna said when Schultz informed him of Erickson’s arrest, he set out to inform district parents of the incident using the school’s messenger system.
“I wanted to alert the parents that this story broke today, and explain to them what occurred,” he said.
Prior to Erickson’s arrest, he was placed on paid administrative leave, Cwayna said.
“We’re obviously concerned about the safety of our students,” he said. “It’s our top priority. We cooperated with the Michigan State Police investigation, and as soon as we were able to do so, we immediately placed him on administrative leave.”
Erickson is scheduled for a pre-preliminary examination in district court Dec. 19 at 1:30 p.m., and a preliminary exam has been scheduled for Jan. 15, 2013 at 9 a.m.
According to Schultz, a warrant was authorized for Erickson’s arrest Tuesday, Dec. 11, and he turned himself in Wednesday morning.
Bond was set at $100,000 cash or surety 10 percent. District Court Judge Richard Noble granted special bond conditions requested by Schultz. These conditions say if bond is posted, Erickson can have no contact with a minor younger than 18 without adult supervision (immediate family excepted); cannot be within 500 feet of parks and cannot be within 1,000 feet of a school. If released, Erickson must reside in an alcohol — and pornographic material-free home, and is prohibited from having any contact with the victim.