By JAMESON COOK
A convicted Macomb County child molester was stopped last week at an airport in his attempt to fly to Europe in celebration of his 25th wedding anniversary because he failed to notify operators of the sex offender registry.
[name withheld], 61, of Southfield, was arrested Aug. 28 by Michigan State Police minutes before he and his wife were to board a Delta flight at Detroit Metropolitan Airport headed for Amsterdam, and ultimately to Prague. He was to return Sept. 9.
“He said they were going on a 25th wedding anniversary cruise that he paid $16,000 for,” said MSP Trooper Craig Tuer, state coordinator for the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. “He wasn’t happy. He was in disbelief.”
“I don’t think those school children (he was accused of molesting) would’ve been happy” if he was allowed to break the rules and go on the trip.
[name withheld] was formally charged Friday in 46th District Court in Southfield with failure to provide the registry of his plan to leave the country at least 21 days prior to departure and failure to provide a copy of his passport. The felonies are punishable by up to four years in prison.
[name withheld]’s attorney, Kenneth Karam, said his client did not intend to skirt the law.
“If there was any violation, it certainly wasn’t willful,” Karam said. “This was a long-planned vacation. It wasn’t something he was trying to hide. Everything was in his own name.”
“The Registry Law is complicated. I think he complied, but we’ll see.”
He said the incident “was disconcerting, to say the least,” to [name withheld] and his wife, who are both retired.
Tuer said when an offender reports his intent to leave the United States, the MSP informs that country, which can choose to reject the person. He said some countries typically ignore the warning while others will turn away a convicted sex offender.
[name withheld], a former teacher in Warren Consolidated Schools, was accused of groping fifth-grade girls age 9 to 11 in 2003 and 2004 when he taught at Wilde Elementary School in Warren. He previously worked as a principal in the district and worked in Southfield schools, where his wife also worked.
[name withheld] pleaded no contest in 2005 to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in a plea agreement with Macomb County prosecutors. He was sentenced by Macomb County Circuit Judge Mary Chrzanowski to five years probation, with the first year in the county jail. Fifteen additional charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and another five counts of attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed as part of the deal. The offenses carried a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Warren Consolidated Schools and officials were sued by 10 girls in 2006 and one additional girl later in U.S. District Court in Detroit. Each settled the case for an undisclosed sum that they will begin receiving at age 18.
William Seikaly, who represented the victims, said “the general consensus” among the girls and their parents was that [name withheld] “got off easy in the criminal case.”
“Like the victims in cases of this type, they have been deeply affected and haunted by what occurred,” Seikaly said. “Many of them resented the fact that he never suffered any serious consequences for his behavior.”
The settlement was to pay for compensation and psychological treatment for the victims, Seikaly said at the 2007 settlement hearing, court documents say.