A Vicksburg, Michigan teacher has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested for allegedly committing a sex crime with a minor. The teacher, identified as 47-year-old Timothy Pratt of Kalamazoo, has already been arraigned in Kalamazoo County District Court and is currently out on bond.
According to police records, the alleged crime took place in 2011, with a minor under the age of 13. For this reason, Pratt is being charged with First-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under 13. CSC 1st degree is a felony in Michigan and punishable by up to life in prison.
Pratt has worked for the school in the past as a para-pro working with special needs students. At the time of his arrest he was working as a member of the school’s maintenance team. However, school district administrators have been quick to point out that when Pratt was working with students, he was never alone with them.
The victim was not one of his students, but went to school somewhere else!
Officers from the Kalamazoo Department of Safety have corroborated this, saying that the alleged victim is not a resident of Vicksburg, and was not a student at the school where Pratt worked, and that the incident did not take place within the boundaries of the school district. Also, they are saying that as far as they know, Pratt was never involved in any kind of sexual assault with a student at the school where he works.
Very few details have been released regarding the arrest, the alleged sexual assault, or even the resulting scheduled court appearances, so we have very little to share with you about this case. But one thing we do know is that, regardless of what Mr. Pratt is accused of, the law says that until he is proven guilty in a court of law, he is to be presumed innocent.
“Innocent until proven guilty” is a phrase that just about everyone has heard at one time or another, but for all that it’s common in everyday speech, people still seem to struggle with applying it to those accused of crimes. The assumption that a person is innocent until the moment that a judge or jury convicts them of a crime, is one of the most sacred Constitutional principles in the American justice system.
So while Timothy Pratt has been accused of a crime and has been formally charged by the prosecutor in Kalamazoo County court, he is still innocent in the eyes of the law. In that light, our sex assault defense attorneys remind our readers of the importance of allowing the courts to do their job, and not making assumptions about people or circumstances before the criminal justice system has had a chance to function as it was designed to do.