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April 23, 2014

Troy man convicted of criminal sexual conduct

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

A Troy man who volunteered at a local church preschool faces up to 25 years in prison after he was convicted of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The man reportedly volunteered at a preschool at St. Augustine Lutheran Church on Livernois in Troy.

A jury found James Patrick O’Connell, 60, guilty April 14. Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Potts will sentence him May 7. The charges included sexual touching, but not penetration.

O’Connell’s attorney, Shannon Marie Smith, could not be reached for comment at press time.

O’Connell’s bond had been set at $500,000 and was revoked. He was ordered to provide DNA and was remanded to jail following the verdict.

Troy police received a report of a possible sexual assault at the preschool last May.  According to church officials, the first reported assault occurred at an unspecified time a few years ago.

“The jury reached a just verdict,” said Paul Walton, chief assistant prosecutor for Oakland County. “Although, you can never restore or give back the innocence of the child or take back the trauma from the family.” 

Church officials said they removed O’Connell from the preschool immediately after Troy police contacted them. Letters were sent to parents whose children had attended the preschool over the last three years.

“We are praying for all involved,” said Rev. Paul Monson, pastor at St. Augustine.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.