WARREN (WWJ) – A Warren high school assistant baseball coach has been charged with criminal sexual conduct.
Derek Michael Knoll, 24, was arraigned Tuesday morning before Judge Jennifer Faunce in the 37th District Court.
Warren police detectives say Knoll had a relationship with a 16-year-old female student at Warren Woods Tower South High School. Knoll worked as a volunteer at the school for the past seven years before being hired to coach football and baseball.
After the two began chatting via Twitter, alleged sexual relationship began last December, according to police.
Detectives say the case came to light as they investigated and did interviews in another case involving a retired cop and school resource officer who was charged with having sex with a different 16-year-old student. Police said that’s when said an anonymous student tipped off school authorities.
Prosecutor Eric Smith emphasized that the law places faculty members in a heightened position of trust.
“In Michigan the age of consent in 16. But if you are employed at a school — and you have sexual relations with a student at that school — it puts you in a position of authority and thereby negates the ages of consent,” he said.
“Parents and students alike need to be able to rely on a faculty-student relationship based on integrity and restraint,” Smith said.
Knoll face two counts of criminal sexual conduct – third Degree. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Knoll is being held on $25,000 bond. A preliminary hearing will be set for later this month.