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Chippewa Valley teacher arrested for alleged sexual contact with student

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published February 24, 2015

 Christopher David Cowles

Christopher David Cowles

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A Chippewa Valley High School teacher has been charged with having inappropriate relations with a teenage student.

Christopher David Cowles, 23, of Clinton Township, was arrested Feb. 19 by Clinton Township police and charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

He was arraigned Feb. 20 in 41-B District Court in Clinton Township and entered a not-guilty plea. He currently resides in Macomb County Jail and was given a $250,000 cash or surety bond.

Police Capt. Richard Maierle said Cowles allegedly had contact with a 16-year-old female at his home last year. The girl’s mother called police earlier this year. The student is 17 years old now.

Cowles was hired in January 2014 as a career technical education, or CTE, teacher. As part of the district’s hiring process, he underwent a criminal background check and a fingerprint scan — both of which he passed.

The school released a statement that Cowles was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 12, around the time the incident was discovered. Clinton Township police notified school administrators they were investigating alleged sexual misconduct between Cowles and one of his students.

“Based upon a review of the specific charges against him, Cowles faces permanent dismissal from Chippewa Valley Schools,” the statement read. “The decision is based upon the district’s concern for any blatant disregard of the trust that should exist between a teacher and their student.

“Chippewa Valley Schools cooperated with the Clinton Township Police and provided assistance throughout their investigation into this matter.”

According to Michigan law, third-degree criminal sexual conduct is punishable by up to 15 years. It involves a victim described as being between 13-16 years of age, or a student of at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age.

Also, the alleged perpetrator fits the circumstances that — if he or she is a teacher, substitute teacher or administrator of any type of school — and he or she is an employee of said school.

Cowles’ next court date is March 4 at 41-B District Court. At press time he sought a court-appointed attorney but was not yet assigned one.

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