A man who is suspected of being involved in a sexual assault at a Troy church's preschool is set to appear in court on Monday for a pre-exam conference.
James O'Connell, 58, was arraigned last Wednesday on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with an incident involving a young girl. The alleged assault happened at the preschool at St. Augustine Lutheran church.
During Wednesday's hearing O'Connell's lawyer said, "We have been extremely cooperative. My client has no intent to leave the state or put anyone in danger." His bond was set at $500,000.
O'Connell had attended the church for 22 years before leaving when an investigation was launched in May.
O'Connell is retired from the construction business and has two children of his own.
If convicted O'Connell faces up to life in prison. The church preschool program still has a license to operate under the state of Michigan.
Letters from Troy police and Child Protective Services about the alleged assault have been sent to parents.
Statement from St. Augustine Lutheran Church
Dear Fellow Members of St. Augustine,
On May 23rd, the St. Augustine Lutheran Preschool was notified by the Troy police department that a complaint regarding a non-employee of the preschool had been made. The school has not been informed of any details regarding the complaint other than it occurred a few years ago. All staff members at the preschool are fully cooperating with authorities.
On Wednesday this week, local news sources have started reporting on the investigation. Since this matter involves only the preschool, the Preschool Board of Directors will be managing the communication with the press during the course of the investigation.
Please pray for the preschool staff & affected families during the course of the investigation.
Sincerely, The Preschool Board of Directors