TROY (WWJ) – A man accused of a sexual assault at a church preschool could serve 25 years in prison.

James O’Connell, 58, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with an incident involving a young girl at Saint Augustine Lutheran Church’s Preschool in Troy, where he worked as a volunteer.

O’Connell, who has two children of his own, left the church in May when an investigation began. He had attended the church for 22 years.

Bond was set at $500,000 at an arraignment Wednesday at Oakland County District Court. A hearing was scheduled for August 12 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge William E. Bolle of 52-4 District Court.

The charges come after police, in June, launched an investigation Child Protective Services after they were contacted by a parent.

At that time, letter was sent to parents of children who’ve attended the facility, informing them about the alleged crime. Parents who received the letter but still have questions about the incident, or who know anything that could help in the investigation, are urged to call Troy police or Child Protective Services.

No details have been released about the victim, including her age. A police spokesman said they’re working to protect the privacy of those involved.


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