Former Harper Woods High School teacher sentenced for propositioning student

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published August 20, 2019

 Charles Penn

Charles Penn

HARPER WOODS — A former teacher at Harper Woods High School was found guilty and sentenced to five years of probation and three months in jail for offering a 15-year-old student better grades in exchange for sexual favors.

The teacher, 41-year-old Charles Penn, of Southfield, was working as an economics teacher at the high school at the time of the incident. Police said he was asked by a 15-year-old student what extra work she could do to raise her grade in his class, and Penn responded by telling the student he would raise her grade if she performed sex acts on him.

Investigators said the student came forward shortly after the incident, and the encounter was overheard by another student who corroborated the story. Penn ended his employment with the Harper Woods School District during the course of the police investigation and was charged Dec. 13, 2018.

Penn was charged with one count of children — accosting for immoral purposes and was found guilty by a jury May 24. He was sentenced July 17 to five years of probation and three months in jail, which will be served at the end of the probation period in 2024. He also was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

“The prosecution asked that the judge follow the recommendation of the probation department which was a five year term,” explained Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller in an email. “The judge added the three month jail term at the end of his probationary sentence. We are satisfied with this sentence.”

Penn’s attorney, Lillian Diallo, declined to comment on the case.

Harper Woods Schools Superintendent Steven McGhee declined to comment on the matter directly, but his office sent a response via email.

“The City of Harper Woods School District is committed to providing a learning and working environment that promotes personal integrity, civility and mutual respect in an environment free of discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes all forms of sexual misconduct,” it reads. “Sex discrimination violates an individual’s fundamental rights and personal dignity. Harper Woods School District Schools considers sex discrimination and ‘sexual harassment’ in all of its forms a serious offense. This statement refers to all forms of sexual discrimination, including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence by employees, students, or third parties.”