In April of this year, a former White Cloud high school teacher and football coach was arrested and charged with five counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a high-court misdemeanor. A news article at Mlive.com reveals that Ethan Christopher Wendell is expected to submit a formal letter of resignation to the school.
The allegations against Wendell involve incidents which occurred this year at White Cloud High School, and in October of 2010. In exchange for his guilty plea to two of the CSC counts submitted in Newaygo Circuit Clerk on August 27, three of the counts will be dropped by prosecutors, according to court records. Wendell also agreed in the plea deal to surrender his teaching certificate.
Charges were filed after the high school coach and teacher was accused of touching and kissing two females at the school. As soon as the district learned of the charges against Wendell, he was placed on administrative leave according to Barry Seabrook, Superintendent of White Cloud Public Schools. Wendell, who is 37 years old, was arrested on July 22; he is expected to be sentenced on November 4.
The maximum sentence for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct is two years; according to the article, Wendell’s maximum sentence will include less than one year in jail, a condition of his plea agreement.
Michigan sex offender defense attorneys realize that while less than one year in jail may not seem very harsh punishment, the damage to the accused individual’s life, reputation, and career is perhaps a more serious consequence. Wendell will surrender his teaching certificate, which means his career as a coach and teacher is over.
Regardless of how minor or serious the situation seems, any individual who is accused of criminal sexual conduct, whether first-, second-, third-, or fourth-degree, must obtain the legal guidance and representation of a capable and skilled Michigan sex crime lawyer.