WYANDOTTE, Mich. – The Wyandotte school board called for an independent investigation into what the district knew about a volunteer who was charged with criminal sexual conduct involving children, including students.
Michael Jerry Beebe, 47, was a volunteer in the Watch DOGS program at James Monroe Elementary School, police said. He has been under investigation since May and was arrested July 25.
During a board meeting Tuesday, it was announced that a private law firm would look into district practices.
Superintendent Catherine Cost told Local 4's Jermont Terry that she doesn't believe Beebe's volunteer status helped him prey upon victims, but confirmed that the victims are Wyandotte students.
Cost also told Local 4 that there is one other volunteer with a felony criminal record. She wouldn't say what school the volunteer was working at or what his or her crime was. She did say this person's volunteer status has been temporarily halted.
Many parents have called for Cost to resign amid the charges.
Last February, a parent with four children at the school wrote to Superintendent Catherine Cost directly to inform her that Beebe had a felony record.
In the letter, the parent said that they were concerned that he greeted kids during parent drop-off and were worried that he was walking around the halls during school hours. They also said he brought lunches in for specific children other than his own.
Vicki Wilson, the principal at James Monroe Elementary School, told parents none of Beebe's alleged crimes happened on school property. She said Beebe was never alone with children during school activities.
Cost said Beebe's alleged victims are students in the school district.
Beebe also has a criminal past. He served time in prison for home invasion in the 1990s. The Wyandotte schools superintendent said in a letter that Beebe was originally denied to be a volunteer but "he provided additional evidence to me and was ultimately granted the ability to be a Watch DOG, where he would be under the supervision of staff."
According to the superintendent, there's at least one other volunteer with a felony who was granted an appeal to volunteer. That case is under review.
All appeals have been terminated until the end of the investigation.