Just days before his trial was set to begin in Roscommon County, Michigan, 31-year-old Vaughn J. Canamore has accepted a plea agreement in which he has agreed to plead guilty to having sex with an underage student.
Initially Canamore was charged with four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim between the ages of 13 and 16. That capital charge is punishable by up to life in prison if the defendant is convicted. By agreeing to plead guilty to two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree which involves penetration and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison the prosecutor has agreed to drop the four counts of first degree CSC. The benefit to Mr. Canamore is that he reduces his maximum possible sentence from life in prison to 15 years in prison. The benefit to the prosecutor is that there is no chance of losing at trial and also that the victim isn’t going to be forced to testify about the crime in open court.
Law enforcement has provided very little information about this case. According to court records, the instances of sexual contact occurred between sometime in September 2014 and February 8, 2016. The victim is said to be between the ages of 13 and 16 and was a student at Charlton Heston Academy in St. Helen, Michigan where Canamore was a middle school teacher.
Due to the specific sex assault charges this teacher is facing, we know that the allegations involve sexual penetration of some kind. Outside of that, there is very little that is known about the details of this case. No one has come forward with details about what the relationship entailed, how it started, or how the relationship came to light.
According to information provided by the Richfield Township Police, theye were contacted by the school. In accordance with Michigan’s mandatory reporter law the school then reported the suspicion to police authorities. At this point, no one knows how the school found about about the sexual relationship. As a result however, a sealed letter was sent home with students immediately after the information came to light, informing parents of what was taking place.
The letter stated that “On Feb. 9, 2016, administration at CHA uncovered a staff member who may have had an inappropriate relationship with a student, and the staff member has been placed on leave of absence pending the outcome of the investigation. The school will cooperate fully with the agencies involved to expedite the investigation; the first priority is to follow policies and procedures to ensure the safety and support of the students as well as protecting the rights of its staff members.”
Although accepting this plea offer means that Canamore will not face a trial in Roscommon County where the school he worked at was located, it has no effect on the second set of charges that he is facing in his home county – Ogemaw County.
A trial had initially been scheduled in Ogemaw County for July 21st for the four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim between the ages of 13 and 16. But that trial has now been adjourned and a new pretrial conference has been set for August 10th in West Branch, MI. The trial is now set for September although our sex crime attorneys think that the Roscommon County plea deal may have involved the Ogemaw charges as well. It is not uncommon for the prosecuting attorneys in multiple counties to work together to resolve cases in their counties that involve the same defendant. .
If you or a loved one have been charged with a sex crime, you should take that very seriously. Sex crimes are considered to be some of the worst crimes a person can commit, and so they should be handled by defense attorneys with extensive experience fighting these types of charges. Every minute that you wait, is a minute we could have spent defending you against these allegations.