WYANDOTTE, Mich. – Parents in Wyandotte are outraged after a longtime parent volunteer and convicted felon was charged with more than a dozen child sex crimes.
Michael Jerry Beebe, 47, was a volunteer in the Watch DOGS program at a Wyandotte school, police said. He has been under investigation since May and was arrested July 25 after police raided his home.
Principal writes letter to parents
Vicki Wilson, the principal at James Monroe Elementary School, wrote a letter to parents saying none of Beebe's alleged crimes happened on school property. She said Beebe was never alone with children during school activities.
"Per school policy, a yearly background check was done on this individual," Wilson wrote. "What has been so devastating is this yielded no red flags to any of these allegations. When this parent volunteered, he was never alone with students and was always under the supervision of other adults. Also know, none of the allegations happened on school property."
Beebe is accused in three separate cases, the first of which happened May 8, according to authorities.
"A parent came forward in the spring with concerns and alerted the police," Wilson wrote. "When this happened, the parent volunteer was informed he was no longer able to be on any school campus while the investigation was being done."
In the May 8 incident, Beebe is charged with four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13, four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13 and three counts of child sexually abusive material.
He is charged with two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in the second incident and two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in the third incident.
Parents said there were red flags about Beebe that Wilson was warned about. Many are calling for her and Wyandotte Schools Superintendent Dr. Catherine Cost to step down.
"They need to quit their job," one parent said. "You put our kids in jeopardy. You were supposed to take care of them, and you didn't."
Parents said Beebe hosted sleepovers and took children to Detroit Tigers games.
One mother told Local 4 she's just now learning that her daughter went to a girl's-only Valentine's Day lunch at school, which was hosted by Beebe.
"There was a head count of girls picked to go to this pizza party," she said. "He offered them some candy. She chose not to take it."
District officials said Beebe passed a criminal background check. Local 4 has learned Beebe has a long criminal history dating from the 1990s, when he spent time in prison for felony home invasion, breaking and entering and attempted escape.
When pressed on the background check, Cost said district officials knew about Beebe's criminal history.
"There is an appeal process where considerations are given to when incidents occurred, the nature of the incident, what has been done since that time and what circumstances have changed," Cost wrote. "All of these factors are considered when making a final decision."
One mother said she had to tell Beebe at school to stop touching her children.
"I had to tell him to back off several times," she said. "For the district to ignore this is completely unacceptable."
"You sat here and let a sex offender into this school," a parent said. "They don't need to be here. They need to be fired."
Police asked anyone who knows of additional victims to call the department at 734-324-4405.
You can read the full letter from Wilson below.
"I am sick to my stomach about the recent story involving a former parent and volunteer at our school. I want to do everything humanly possible to protect all of my students from such horrible acts. Most of the time, I am content being human, but right now, as a school leader, I wish I were a superhero that could rid the world of danger and save the community from this heartache.
"Let me first give you more information. A parent came forward in the spring with concerns, and alerted the police. When this happened, the parent volunteer was informed he was no longer able to be on any school campus while the investigation was being done.
"Per school policy, a yearly background check was done on this individual. What has been so devastating is this yielded no red flags to any of these allegations. When this parent volunteered, he was never alone with students and was always under the supervision of other adults. Also know, none of the allegations happened on school property.
"Today, the mom in me is grappling with these questions. How do I teach children that kind and friendly people may not be kind inside? How do I let them know that their innocent and trusting heart may be attractive to the wrong person that can bring them harm? What can I learn from this awful story that will help me alert children to the inconceivable? I wish I had the perfect words for as they face all the beautiful and all the ugly in the world. But I am only human and I don’t know what challenges they will face. I do like this article from Parents Magazine that gives age appropriate tips for talking to our children about sexual predators. It is a place I will start. I hope this will help you too.
"When school resumes on September 3rd, I want all of our children to come back feeling safe, loved, and ready to learn. I value parent volunteers and continue to value you as a volunteer in our school. We will continue to do background checks and we will continue to monitor parent volunteers in our school. Volunteers in our school are always in a public space and not alone with children. I wish I could run a future-check on people, but I can’t. Sometimes, my kids ask me what superpower I would pick if I could. I used to say “being invisible”, now I would choose future vision. I want you to know that I do feel confident that in the school setting our children are safe. We do not set volunteers up to be alone with a child or in a setting where they could inflict harm on a student. I want to assure you that the incidents the man is accused of were off campus. I know this can happen anywhere, but I am very sad it happened in our community. When something like this hits close to home, it feels even worse.
"The article link above will help with age-appropriate language. This is a topic we really need to rely on you, as parents/guardians to take on, as each family has their own level of comfort as to how far you want this conversation to go. We are happy to support you. If you would like ideas or support materials to help you talk to your child about safety and predators, please contact me and I will work with our school social worker to get you what you need.
"I hope your children can enjoy the beautiful innocence of their youth these last few weeks of summer. The school office re-opens on Monday, Aug. 19. I am happy to assist you if you need anything to help you support your child."