The freshman basketball coach at Warren Woods Tower High School stands accused of having sex with a female student.
The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office charged Derek Knoll, 24, on Tuesday with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct – Third Degree. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 15 years.
Knoll was arraigned before Judge Jennifer Faunce in the 37th District Court, Warren. Bond was set at $25,000 cash/surety only.
According to police, the relationship began through social media. Knoll and the 16-year-old student first communicated via Knoll’s twitter account. By last December, the two were having encounters in the basement of Knoll’s parents’ home, and at Knoll’s apartment.
An anonymous student brought the alleged relationship to the attention of school authorities, who in turn called the Warren Police.
Knoll began coaching at Warren Woods Tower in 2007 as a volunteer. He was formally hired as a payroll employee in 2011. He also serves as an assistant varsity football coach.
Prosecutor Eric Smith emphasized that the law places faculty members in a heightened position of trust.
"Parents and students alike need to be able to rely on a faculty-student relationship based on integrity and restraint," he said.
Just last week a retired Warren Police officer who was working as a security guard at Warren Woods Tower High School was charged with having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. The teenager claims her relationship with Dale Malesh was was consensual. Malesh is scheduled to be back in court April 25.