A 17-year-old girl has defended her former teacher, accused of sexual misconduct, claiming that he never forced himself on her and that she willingly participated in a relationship.
The Battle Creek Inquirer reports that Tyler David Millward, 29, of Athens, Michigan, is facing up to 20 years in prison on multiple charges that include allegations of having sex with a minor.
According to the New York Post, Millward was fired from his teaching job amid accusations that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a then-16-year-old student, who he reportedly communicated with via text message to arrange meetings for sex.
“The charges are a result from the investigation that was opened in January 2018, which Millward was involved in a teacher/student relationship,” the Tribal Police said in a statement obtained by the Battle Creek Inquirer. “There are several aspects of the investigation that are ongoing.”
That student, now 17 years old, reportedly appeared at Millward’s arraignment on Monday to defend the suspect.
“He has never been a threat and he has never hurt me,” the teenager told Magistrate Joe Brutsche, according to the newspaper, which declined to identify her because she may be a victim of sexual assault.
“He never told me to say anything or push me to do anything against my will. I wish to have contact.”
According to the Battle Creek Inquirer, police said that Millward renewed his passport and made statements about possibly fleeing once he knew he was being investigated, but before any charges were filed. He was apprehended at the 17-year-old’s apartment on Friday, and reportedly initially refused to come out.
But his defense lawyer argued that Millward was prepared to surrender if he had been charged.
“He is no longer a teacher, and the threat of him being a danger is not there,” defense attorney Sarissa Montague told the magistrate while arguing to lower his bond. The bond has been reduced to $75,000 from $150,000.
Millward is additionally facing domestic violence charges resulting from an altercation with his wife. He has pleaded not guilty, and is set to stand trial in August.