CLINTON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) — A Chippewa Valley High School teacher is facing charges for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old student in his home last year.
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith says 23-year-old Christopher Cowles, a computer teacher, has been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and if found guilty, would face up to 15 years in prison.
“With so many of these cases going now, with one teacher after another having a relationship with a student, I’m not sure if some of these teachers just don’t understand the law, but we’re going to make sure they all do,” Smith said.
Smith said that his evidence includes 600 texts exchanged between the teen girl and Cowles within a three-week period. Cowles has been placed on leave from the school in Clinton Township.
Smith said that Cowles was only 22 when he had a brief affair with the student at his home, but that it’s no excuse.
“You go over ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ as a teacher and the first ‘don’t’ you go over is have a relationship with one of your students,” Smith said. “He violated the cardinal rule to not have a sexual relationship with a student. There’s certainly no sympathy from anyone in law enforcement about this sort of behavior.”
Cowles is in jail on $250,000 bond. Smith said the although the girl is the age of legal consent, any relationship would still be illegal because he was her teacher.
“It makes no difference to me that he is a man or a woman,” Smith said. “In any situation like that, and when this victim is a student of yours, you are exercising undue authority over that person and the emotions of these young students.”