UPDATE: Ashmun teacher could get 15 years for criminal sexual conduct with student

Janet Marie Brown
Janet Marie Brown

HERSEY — An Evart woman could spend up to 15 years in prison for criminal sexual conduct with a 16-year-old boy, who was a student at Ashmun School at Eagle Village.

Janet Marie Brown, 32, a teacher, was arraigned Monday in Osceola County’s 77th District Court on three counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from a sexual relationship she had with a student at Ashmun School at Eagle Village in Hersey, an adjudicated youth facility for troubled teens. The felony charges hold a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Brown was a teacher for the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District, which oversees the school at Eagle Village, since November 2011. She previously taught at Cadillac Public Schools.

Eagle Village is not involved in hiring teachers for Ashmun School, said President Cathey Prudhomme. She declined to comment further on the situation.

On Monday, a felony warrant was issued charging Brown with three counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct. She was arrested by Michigan State Police without incident, and lodged at the Osceola County Jail.

Brown was put on administrative leave on Nov. 21 for “improper communication” with a student outside of school.

School employees became aware of the communication earlier last week, when the school was on a two-week fall break, and notified officers from the Michigan State Police Mount Pleasant Post on Nov. 20. Residents at Eagle Village are not allowed to have cell phones, so facility employees confiscated the boy’s phone and found messages to Brown. Within 24 hours, they had turned the investigation over to police.

“Our staff did a nice job gathering all the information until they suspected an inappropriate relationship and then they turned it over to police,” said Curt Finch, MOISD superintendent.

Pending the outcome of the trial, the MOISD Board of Education will determine Brown’s employment status with the district.

“Student trust and safety is No. 1 priority for the MOISD,” Finch said in a statement. “The investigation has initially determined this to be an isolated incident.”

A pretrial conference for Brown will be held at 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, and a preliminary exam is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 6. Brown’s bond was set at $50,000.