Abuse Charges Against Michigan Teacher Dropped As Prosecutor Faces Bar Disciplinary Action

A highly controversial prosecution of a Michigan kindergarten teacher has ended with a new team of prosecutors dropping all charges “in the interests of justice.” The admission did not come until after James Perry, 34, was put through two trials — the first resulted in an overturned conviction due to conflicting evidence. In the meantime, one of the prosecutors responsible for the case will find himself on the defense side of a bar charge for prosecutorial misconduct. Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca will have to answer for his controversial actions in the case. Assistant Prosecutor Andrea Dean in the case argued that possession of movies like Harry Potter should be considered “non-erotic pornography.”

From the outset, the case against Perry was extremely weak. He was first accused by a five-year-old boy who alleged that Perry raped him within three hours of the first day of classes in October 2005. However, the boy later said that a 4-year-old classmate was assaulted with him and, in an interview with police, then denied any attack at all.

Prosecutors decided not to bring charges on such evidence. However, when a new set of managers took control of the office, they pursued Perry again with a blind vengeance. They interviewed the second boy and brought charges of rape of both boys. A jury convicted Perry despite the contradictions in September 2006. To the credit of Judge Langford Morris, the court stood up to intense public criticism and overturned the conviction. Judge Morris cited various contradictions.

The new trial resulted in a hung jury. A special education teacher and several aides testified that the attack could not have occurred because the classroom was full of students and others throughout the day since special education children ate lunch at their desks. Notably, eleven jurors voted to acquit. The sole holdout was a person who lived around the corner from Perry and should probably have been struck from the jury.

The prosecutors who replaced Gorcyca found that the evidence did not support a charge. They told the court: “The decision of whether to further pursue prosecution of this case is made in light of the totality of the facts and circumstances. The evidence as it exists after the conclusion of two jury trials indicates that it is not possible to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

It was a bit late since prosecutors had been hounding Perry, including fighting his right to live in his home due to the close proximity to a school. Gorcyca is not the only prosecutor who made controversial statements in the case. Assistant Prosecutor Andrea Dean actually argued that movies found in Perry’s home, like “Star Wars,” the “Harry Potter” films and “Little House on the Prairie,” constituted “non-erotic pornography.” According to Dean, that would make hundreds of millions of people in possession of “non-erotic pornography.”

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14 thoughts on “Abuse Charges Against Michigan Teacher Dropped As Prosecutor Faces Bar Disciplinary Action

  1. To Assistant Prosecutor Dean,

    I confess! I have all seven books in the “Harry Potter” series. I also have all the “Star Wars” movies and even several books written about the fictional universe. Why, I even have an old VHS of( Dare I say it?) “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”! Come take me away Ms. Dean! I am obviously a danger to society in general and children in particular!

  2. Susan,

    I’m with you! I have no idea what she’s talking about but wicked broomsticks are a good guess!!! I think her statements say a lot about her, that’s for certain.

  3. Jill wrote:
    Now listen here CroMM! Ms. Dean knows “non-erotic” pornography when
    she sees it!

    Must be the sight of the kids flying around on broomsticks. Makes about as much sense as any other wacky “thoughts” she has on the subject.

  4. In response to your last question, Cro, only to a complete moron. That description also applies to anyone who would call the Harry Potter books “non-erotic pornography.”

    Yea, like I said I’d be pretty upset if I were JK Rowlings. Obviously free speech allows the D.A to give her “opinion” but it really is unbelievable that she’d say such a stupid thing in court.

    And “Little House on the Prarie”? It’s considered a CHRISTIAN show!

    It runs almost exclusively these days on Christian and Family channels. It’s considered one of the most wholesome family oriented series in the world, as were the books.

    I cannot in my wildest stretch of the imagination picture someone calling Little House on the Prairie “pornography”.

    Ms. Dean is clearly not playing with a full deck.

  5. Rafflaw, I couldn’t agree more, especially with your last statement. I hope the bar charge against Gorcyca for prosecutorial misconduct will eventually get him disbarred. I know some folks disagree on this, but in my view, prosecutors who are more interested in their personal ambitions than in prosecuting cases fairly and responsibly do not deserve to keep their jobs as prosecutors or their license to practice law. The office of prosecutor is too powerful to allow anyone to abuse it without consequence.

  6. I have to applaud the judge for seeing through this charade of a case and not allowing the jury’s decision to stand. The hardest and most important job in the country is that of being a teacher. To put someone through this with shoddy, if not made up evidence is a travesty. I would hope the originial prosectution team is investigated for their unreasonable and immoral decision to prosecute.

  7. Cro Magnum Man wrote:
    I’d be surprised if J.K Rowling, the studios, etc, don’t sue for slandering their work. “Little House on the Prarie” is “Child Pornography”?

    In response to your last question, Cro, only to a complete moron. That description also applies to anyone who would call the Harry Potter books “non-erotic pornography.”

  8. I’d read about this travesty of justice against Mr. Perry on another site (TruthInJustice.org) which details many cases of egregious police and prosecutorial misconduct. I am very happy to see that Mr. Gorcyca will finally be facing disciplinary action himself. It is long overdue, and I hope this prosecutor receives the same punishment as former DA Mike Nifong; DISBARMENT. I wouldn’t be unhappy if Gorcyca faced criminal charges either. We have seen far too many cases of innocent persons being wrongly charged and convicted of sex crimes that as it turned out later, never occurred. Too many times, the cases are driven by a prosecutor’s political ambitions rather than the interests of justice. And as Mike pointed out, the questioning of children as young as four and five years old is very problematic. In a lot of cases, the interviewers do not audiotape or videotape the interviews with these children, nor do they take accurate notes. Under these circumstances, it is too easy to get false “admissions of molestation” from these children, which should be more carefully scrutinized.

  9. I’d be surprised if J.K Rowlins, the studios, etc, don’t sue for slandering their work.

    “Little House on the Prarie” is “Child Pornography”?

    How can they get away with that?

    I’d be suing them if I were the authors and studios involved in those movies and shows.

  10. Apart from the fact that the adults in the legal community stepped in to end this madness, it is yet another example of the difficulty of choosing prosecutors in our legal system. Much too often the position of prosecutor is used as a political springboard, or as a means of putting one’s prejudice into action. Prosecutorial power then becomes corrupted in the interest of self service. When it comes to sexual abuse of children the egregious, publicity ridden cases, are all too familiar. The questioning of 4 & 5 year olds is quite problematic, as shown by most of the literature in this field, and too often turns on the skill (or lack of same) of the questioner. The child’s complaint needs to be taken seriously. However, in these cases the preference should always be for physical and corroboratory evidence beyond the child(ren)’s interview.

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