Portage teacher accused of CSC to be sentenced on felonious assault charge
Former Portage Public Schools teacher Corey McNeal, who was scheduled to be retried on criminal sexual conduct charges starting Wednesday, has pleaded guilty to felonious assault in the case.
Kalamazoo County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Scott Brewer said the remaining charges have been dismissed. McNeal pleaded to the felonious assault charge Friday.
"Had it not been for the fact that she was a student in a district where the defendant was employed it would not have been a crime," Brower said after explaining the then 17-year-old girl and McNeal had a consensual relationship.
Arrested in 2015, following a criminal investigation of his relationship with a Portage Central High School student, McNeal was acquitted of one charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct in a jury trial that ended in September 2016. However, the jurors could not reach a verdict on six other counts -- three more criminal sexual conduct charges, two counts of possession of child sexually abusive material, and one count of distributing sexually explicit material to a minor, which is a misdemeanor. A third-degree CSC, for an educator, involves an inappropriate relationship with at student between 16 and 18 years old.
"Those three [CSC} counts were what were rescheduled for trial," Brower said. "As part of this plea agreement those three were dismissed and he plead to the felonious assault."
McNeal will be sentenced Nov. 15.
"The resolution was reached after consulting with her," Brower said, referring to the the teen.
A physical education teacher at Portage Central Elementary School until he resigned from the job amid the investigation, McNeal, then 40, had also served as the Portage Central High School basketball coach until 2012.
He was arrested and arraigned in December 2015, after investigators said they found hundreds of sexually graphic messages, pictures, and videos on both McNeal's and the student's cellphones. McNeal acknowledged the relationship, but denied that it was inappropriate.
During the 2016 trial, the defense stated that McNeal never had sex with the student, and questioned the credibility of the student's claims. Additionally, McNeal's defense attorney, Michael Hettinger, said the detectives in the case failed to perform a complete investigation, stating that no physical evidence was taken from the alleged victim's bedroom.
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