$1 million bond set for substitute teacher accused of sexual conduct with student

By: Jessica Strachan | Farmington Press | Published March 29, 2013

Andrew Howell

A 58-year-old Farmington Hills resident has been charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct for an incident police say happened at a local school March 19.

Andrew Montgomery Howell, a substitute teacher for more than 25 years, was charged by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office March 29 for allegedly having sexual contact with a female student under the age of 13, according to a press release issued from the Farmington Hills Police Department.

He was given a $1 million bond during his arraignment before 47th District Court Judge James Brady.

The school district confirmed Friday afternoon in a districtwide memo issued following the arraignment that the school was Hillside Elementary. Superintendent Susan Zurvalec sent a letter to parents, noting that officials were taking action in the matter.

The girl reportedly told her parents about what happened after school, and they contacted the principal about the concern.

“The substitute was immediately blocked from subbing in the district pending the outcome of the district's investigation,” Zurvalec said.

According to Zurvalec, the investigation continued the next morning, including interviews with parents and students. A report was also filed with the Michigan Department of Human Services. 

Assistant Superintendent David Ruhland said that Howell had been substitute teaching in the Farmington Hills area since 1985.

“Andy was never a classroom teacher in the district; all of his work has been as a substitute. In the course of those years, he served in many different capacities,” he said.

Ruhland said that because of the ongoing investigation with police, they are not yet releasing details, like which class or grade the victim was in.

“She came back to school the next day, and I do believe the young lady is doing OK. I wouldn’t say she is well, but she is doing OK.”

Ruhland, who has been with the district more than a decade, said he’s never had an incident like this, and that resources will be offered to students, families and staff over the next few days.

Police ask that anyone with additional information about the case call (248) 871-2610.  Howell is due back in court April 5; no information about his attorney was immediately available on Friday.