WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) - Another adult, a staff member of a local high school, has been charged with sleeping with a student.
This time it’s the freshman basketball coach Derek Knoll who, the prosecutor says, was dating a 16-year-old girl. He’s the second man charged with sleeping with a student from the same school, Warren Woods Tower High, in recent days.
This time the age difference, between the student and her alleged lover isn’t quite so shocking. But in this case, the man who was arrested was puzzled that he was being charged at all, especially with a felony so severe that he could spend 15 years in prison if convicted on each of two counts.
Twenty-four-year-old Derek Michael Knoll has a 16-year-old girlfriend and she has told her friends that Derek loves her.
He told Warren police investigators he didn’t know their relationship was against the law. But Warren’s police Commissioner Jere Green says, “it’s a strong case indicating this was a violation of law, and the prosecutor conquers with that.”
This morning Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith ordered Knoll be charged with 2 counts of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct for the sexual relationship he’s alleged to have started with the Warren Woods Tower High School junior back in December of last year.
At the time he was on staff as the schools freshman basketball coach, after spending some time as a volunteer in that position.
Under a $25,000 personal bond, Knoll is under house arrest at his Warren address. He has also been ordered to wear a GPS tether.
Ironically, it was also in December of last year when one of the victims friends, another 16 year old junior at Warren Wood Tower, is alleged to have started sleeping with former school security officer and retired Warren cop Dale Malish, a 62-year-old man.
He, too, is facing 2 fifteen year CSC 3 charges.
That child’s mother was furious when she discovered the relationship, as we heard from the teenager in an exclusive interview. So how upset was she? “Very upset,” the teen told 7 Action News.
But her four girlfriends, she says, accepted her relationship with the man who’s old enough to be her grandfather.
Did her friends talk to her about the relationship? “Yes,” she replied.
And what did they say? “They were OK with it, as long as I was,” she answered.
Prosecutor Eric Smith said in a press release that the law places faculty members in a heightened position of trust.”
Parents and students alike need to be able to rely on a faculty-student relationship based on integrity and restraint,” he said.
It’s not clear if the order of 37th District Court Judge Jennifer Faunce that Knoll stay away from the 16-year-old girl he was dating also stops him from returning to work at the high school.
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