GRPS staffer faces sex charges; district investigates misconduct at second school

12:18 PM, Jun 6, 2013   |    comments
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Kevin Dengel

UPDATE (Thursday)-- Grand Rapids Police are releasing additional information about the investigation into a paraprofessional's conduct.

Detectives began investigating Kevin Dengel in Mid-April, after receiving parental complaints.  Police say Dengel is accused of rubbing up against two fully clothed girls on two separate occasions.  So far, no other alleged victims have come forward.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Teresa Weatherall Neal, Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools is sending letters to parents detailing allegations of inappropriate conduct by staff members at two schools.

The inappropriate conduct happened at Sherwood Park Global Studies Academy and Grand Rapids University Prep Academy.

At Sherwood Park, which serves K-8 students, 44-year-old Kevin Dengel, a paraprofessional was arrested following a month-long investigation by Grand Rapids Police. Dengel faces three charges of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and what prosecutors call an alternative three charges of CSC in the fourth degree.

The criminal investigation into Dengel began after several students reported inappropriate conduct one month ago. Dengel was immediately removed and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Dengel sent WZZM this statement Wednesday morning: "I am under legal counsel. I decline and I am very innocent. Please do not contact me again."

At University Prep Academy, which serves 6-10th grade students, several parents came forward with their students to file a complaint Monday afternoon. Due to the severity of the allegations, GRPS immediately contacted the Grand Rapids Police Department and an investigation was initiated. The teacher has been removed and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. At this time, the Grand Rapids Police Department is still conducting their investigation.

Below are letters from Grand Rapids Public Schools:

Dear Sherwood Park Parent/Guardian(s):

I am writing to inform you about the outcome of a month long investigation that resulted in the arrest of a Sherwood Park paraprofessional this week.

Approximately one month ago, allegations were brought to our attention by some students about inappropriate conduct on the part of a paraprofessional at Sherwood. Due to the severity of the allegations, we immediately contacted the Grand Rapids Police Department. The employee was removed and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

After an extensive investigation, we were informed this week that criminal charges have been filed against this individual involving several counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct. The employee has been arrested and is awaiting trial.

Please know that we have zero tolerance for this type of alleged behavior and will work closely with the prosecutor's office to ensure justice is served to the fullest extent of the law.

Sincerely,
Teresa Weatherall Neal, M.Ed.
Superintendent of Schools
---------------

Dear University Prep Academy Parent/Guardian(s):

I am writing to inform you about information we recently received regarding alleged inappropriate conduct on the part of a teacher at UPrep.

Several parents came forward with their students to file a complaint late yesterday afternoon. Due to the severity of the allegations, we immediately contacted the Grand Rapids Police Department and an investigation was initiated. The teacher has been removed and placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

At this time, the Grand Rapids Police Department is still conducting their investigation. Any and all students or parents who may have information that would aid in the investigation are encouraged to contact the Grand Rapids Police Department or the GRPS Public Safety Department at 819-2100.

Please know that we have zero tolerance for this type of alleged behavior and will work closely with the GRPD and prosecutor's office on the investigation. If the allegations are found to be true, we will work to ensure justice is served to the fullest extent of the law.

Sincerely,
Teresa Weatherall Neal, M.Ed.
Superintendent of Schools

 

 

 

 

 

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