Ogemaw County teacher arrested on criminal sex charges
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
Neal Haviland Erickson
WEST BRANCH, MI (WNEM) -
The Ogemaw County prosecutor announced Wednesday that a teacher at Rose City Middle School has been charged and arraigned on three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.
Prosecutor LaDonna A. Schultz said Neal Haviland Erickson, of West Branch, engaged in sex acts with a male student over the age of 13, but under the age of 16. The student was enrolled at the school where Erickson taught.
Erickson taught science at the school for 16 years.
According to Schultz, the three CSC charges against Erickson are for allegedly engaging in oral sex. Charges that don't sit well with Donald VanWagoner, a parent of two students at the school.
"Really upset me. I don't know what to think right now at this point," VanWagoner said.
Parents told TV5 they received an automated call on Wednesday alerting them of the investigation of sexual misconduct at the school.
"They had a sexual misconduct at the school, but the state police had everything under control, and we didn't need to worry about it, and that was all they said," said VanWagoner.
In addition to the criminal sex charges, Erickson's other charges include a count of distributing sexually explicit, visual or verbal material to a minor, a count of possessing child sexually abusive material and using a computer to commit a crime.
Bond for Erickson was set at $100,000 and the judge in the case ordered that if Erickson posts bond, he is not to have any contact with a minor under 18 without adult supervision and cannot be within 500 feet of parks or within 1,000 feet of a school. We learned Wednesday he had posted bond.
The superintendent of West Branch-Rose City area schools, Dan Cwayna, told TV5 Erickson is currently on paid administrative leave and has been for two weeks. Cwayna told TV5 that police began investigating Erickson two weeks ago. Cwayna said Michigan State Police troopers arrested Erickson Wednesday.
"Once it was clear that there would be charges brought against Mr. Erickson, he was immediately placed on administrative leave," said Cwayna.
A preliminary exam is scheduled for Jan. 15.
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