A decades long investigation has led to the arrest of a former teacher and administrator accused of sexually assaulting a victim under his control, Michigan authorities say.
Eugene Steven Pratt, 57, was arrested on Tuesday, Aug. 16, on a single count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, but Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said at least 15 victims have been identified.
Pratt had taught at several middle schools and high schools in Michigan, and his previous positions include coach, counselor, dean of students and principal, the sheriff said. He was arrested at his most recent workplace, New Paths, which Swanson said is a court-ordered addiction center.
All of the victims the sheriff’s office has identified are males. Their ages at the time of the incidents range from young teens to early 20s, Swanson said. The older victims were students at an an adult education center who were attempting to earn their GED.
“Individuals that put themselves in supervisory positions, they do that if they are a predator to have access to prey,” the sheriff said while announcing Pratt’s arrest.
A “courageous victim” came forward in February and detailed how he was sexually assaulted by Pratt in 2013, according to Swanson. His experience led to the charge, but the sheriff also credited “a family that never gave up” in leading to the arrest.
Other agencies have been attempting to charge Pratt for years, according to the sheriff, but they were unable to gather the evidence that could lead to prosecution. Investigators with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office do not have any physical evidence against Pratt, but enough information was presented in statements to lead to an arrest, Swanson said.
“We have to follow the law to get probable cause to do what we need to to build a case to take it to the prosecutor to say we now have enough,” he said. “Because others have tried in the past, but nobody has gotten to where we are right now.”
Pratt did not resist when he was taken into custody. He is being held on a $25,000 bond, according to Swanson.
The sheriff believes there are other victims. Anyone who believes they were sexually assaulted by Pratt is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 810-257-3422.
“We know that there’s victims that didn’t want to come forward because they were No. 1 scared, and they didn’t want people to find out,” Swanson said. “The shame and pressure that has been overwhelming has taken a great toll on families.”