An Ohio school member stepped down from his post Tuesday after he was accused by Michigan authorities of having inappropriate sexual contact with a former student several years ago.
After being charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct of the third degree, Patrick Hickey, 54, decided to resign from his Washington Local Board of Education seat.
In a press conference held in his attorney office, Hickey denied any wrongdoing on his part when it comes to the decades-old crime.
“I voluntarily spoke with investigators and voluntarily took a polygraph test with a Forensic Psychologist with 30 years of experience. His conclusion was that I told the truth and have not had sexual activity with any student, ever,” he said, local newspaper the Toledo Blade reported.
His attorney, Lorin Zaner, said Hickey was supposed to turn himself in but no tentative date was fixed for it.
“It’s our plan to likely take this to trial and fight it all the way through, but you never know what happens in a case as you investigate it, and look into it, and talk to witnesses,” Zaner said.
Michigan State Police originally investigated the case against Hickey in 2016. A former student of Addison Community Schools in Michigan told the police at the time that she had sexual intercourse with Hickey at the age of 14, when he was her coach and teacher.
In December 2015, Hickey resigned from the post of Washington Local’s superintendent following 37 charges compiled against him by a private law firm hired by the board. Among the charges were failure to inform the district he left Addison Community Schools in 1990 because of accusations of sexual misconduct.
He was also reportedly banned from school district property in 2016, following an altercation with a student on the basketball court. Hickey was appointed to a seat in the school board in November 2017.
Zaner lamented the fact considerable time had lapsed between the alleged act and the investigation, as memories of witnesses involved in the case will weaken.
“It’s my belief that there is not an issue of the statute of limitations, but we’ll take a look at it. And obviously if there is, we will raise it,” Zaner said.
According to Michigan law, the statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of a minor can extend up to 10 years if the suspect is identified. However, the alleged crime took place 30 years ago.
Zaner added the case had received so much media attention due to the ongoing #MeToo movement.
“Because there are so many people coming out and saying something happened and it may be true, it may not be true. We don’t know,” Zaner explained. “But very difficult to prove a negative and that’s essentially what you have to do with this kind of an allegation.”
If convicted, Hickey might be facing up to 15 years in prison.