Ex-Okemos Teacher Trial Continues

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

One hundred forty-two people showed up to the Eaton County Courthouse Monday for jury duty.

All them summoned in the case against William Bryan Polston, the former Okemos High School Teacher charged with six counts of criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County.

"We need to find out if you have any personal experiences that might influence you for or against the prosecution or the defense," Judge Calvin Osterhaven said.

The judge began jury selection with his own round of questioning, then it was Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Morton's turn.

"Anything about those experiences that would make you not able to make an impartial decision?" Morton asked potential jurors.

Polston's attorney, Frank Reynolds, hammered home the point that as of right now, his client is innocent, and it's up to the prosecution to prove otherwise.

A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent, all the way through trial, until you decide a verdict," Reynolds told potential jurors.

Several potential jurors were excused for knowing too much about the case, or having an opinion about it that would cause them to be less than impartial.

As was reported back in July, police documents say the alleged sexual relationship between Polston and the teenage girl occurred in 2003 and 2004 at his Delta Township home. They also reveal a 2009 settlement was reached between the two where Polston agreed to pay the victim $70,000.

Those kinds of details were not discussed in court Monday, but it was revealed the victim will be taking the stand in the trial.

The judge said in court he believes once opening statements begin, the trial could last three to four days, then the jury would get the case for deliberation.

Polston is also charged in Ingham County with four counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, and two in the third degree. A trial date there has not been set.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2011 at 01:22 PM
    Maybe people should listen to all the facts before making accusations. The girl does not have children and is not on welfare. For God's sake, if you're not going to judge him, don't judge her!! It seems quite odd that they had a "relationship" and had slept together more than once over a few years. He is a grown adult and should have known better in the first place. And she did not report the sexual conduct charges against him, they were placed by a third party involved in the school system after finding out about the settlement that they had made. Maybe there wasn't enough evidence before to make a case or the families didn't want it publicly known as to what had happened. I'm more interested to hear both sides of this story and what really was going on. Law does state that you must be 16 years old to give consent to sex. With her being only 14 at the time but possibly giving consent, I wonder how this will all play out. It is still gross, and wrong in so many ways..
  • by Facts Location: Gr ledge on Jan 11, 2011 at 02:01 AM
    If u put urself in the victims place at age 14 or 15 at the time maybe u would understand some of the reasons a minor victim does not report. He was in a position of authority over her, hence a crime....and creepy! U know nothing of the victim to assume she has kids and is on welfare. R u really going to support a pedophile? And who is to say there aren't more young girls who were preyed upon during this creeps tenure at Okemos High. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and do the right thing, especially knowing people like u r going to make such ridiculous remarks. Go sit in court and listen, then come back and say the guy is innocent...bet u would not b able to.
  • by Liz on Jan 10, 2011 at 03:02 PM
    Before everyone starts posting impulsive comments about this man....please think of the background such a "victim" must have come from. A teenager who didn't feel it necessary to address this when it happened, but only after she was old enough to receive compensation, should not continuously be called such a poor victim. Of course the man has some issues and did something very wrong, but the public has been told about the settlement money. I wonder how long she and her illegit kids were receiving welfare before she remembered this "horrible" incident!?!?
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