Michael Branch, a registered sex offender and former student at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, is suing the college after being kicked out when school administrators discovered he was listed on the state’s sex offender registry. Branch attended the college in spring and fall of 2010 and in the fall of 2011. He was midway through the winter semester on his way to earning an HVAC degree when he was advised that effective immediately, he could not continue his enrollment.
Michigan sex crime defense lawyers understand the obstacles those labeled as sex offenders face. Most sex offenders have difficulty obtaining employment and housing; they may also be ordered to stay certain distances away from colleges, daycares and other locations where children or young people are present.
Branch was convicted on a sex offense charge in 2004 when he had what he described as “consensual intercourse” with a girl he believed to be 19 years old, although it was discovered she was actually 15. Because of that conviction, Branch was required to register as a sex offender for life. He was paroled in 2010, and according to reports his parole officer was aware that he was attending HFCC. Branch had achieved a 3.7 grade point average during the two full semesters he attended, and had perfect attendance.
Lisa Jones Harris, vice president of student affairs at Henry Ford Community College, is named as co-defendant in the case brought by Branch and his attorney, Shaun Godwin. Harris made the decision to expel Branch, who is arguing that the school committed a breach of contract by not allowing him a hearing or to appeal the expulsion decision.
According to Harris, Branch should have disclosed the fact that he had been convicted of a sex offense. However, Branch’s suit argues that the application form provided by HFCC does not ask about this information; additionally, the suit claims the Student Code of Conduct does not address the issue. In the lawsuit, Branch seeks monetary damages and to have his enrollment reinstated at the college.
Michigan statutory rape defense attorneys realize that often times, those accused of criminal sexual conduct are involved in relationships in which the alleged victim claims to be 16 years old or older. If you have been accused of or arrested for a sex-related crime, contact a lawyer right away so that your legal rights and freedom can be protected.