Ex-Wayne County teacher accused of sexually assaulting vision-impaired children

A former teacher from Plymouth is now facing major charges in connection with the alleged sexual assaults of at least four children under 16 years old.

Investigative sources say James Baird's victims were visually impaired and that the sex assaults took place during school vision tests.

Attorney Ven Johnson represents the victim’s parents.

"Today thank God, Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy, thank you madam prosecutor for doing the right thing as she so often does."

Wayne County investigators say the assaults date back to January of 2018 when Baird allegedly sexually assaulted the then-10-year-old victim multiple times during a vision test.

Then in March of that year over in Westland at a school on Bayview Street, prosecutors say he blindfolded the then-13-year-old victim before she was sexually assaulted.

Later in May of 2019 in Garden City, an 11-year-old girl is once again, blindfolded then sexually assaulted.

"You have a person, I won’t call him a man, who has at least six incidents where three at Garden City, where a number of our clients are," Johnson said. "Douglass Elementary, Livonia Public Schools hired this guy. They did not go and get the 12-30-1230B form that they should have requested - in this day and age, is mandatory. You’ve got to do that.

"And had they done that, and sent that to his former employer Allegan. They’d have found out that this guy was fired from Allegan for taking pictures with high school girls."

Parents of alleged victims spoke with FOX 2 in the summer of 2021 after a lawsuit was filed saying visually impaired victims as young as just 8 years old, were sexually molested at Livonia and Garden City Schools.

"Any person, a child, anybody to have to deal with this, it’s just, it’s totally unfair," said mother Gabrielle Washington.

"And once my baby said she was uncomfortable, he should have let her out that room. Instead, he prolonged it," said mother Danica Petty.

"We’ve already taken the deposition of the Livonia superintendent and he agrees with everything I just told you," Johnson said. "He didn’t know that, had they done that and found out that that’s what was going on, he never would have hired this man and never would have been in Garden City, Livonia or Wayne."

In the meantime, advocates who strive to protect children say there are crucial signs of possible sexual abuse you should look for.

"A loss of appetite, not wanting to engage with people, nightmares also just, they may not even want to do their school work sometimes or even go to school. And it may be some things that they just may be feeling uncomfortable about even talking to their parents or talking to anyone that love them about that. "

The suspect was arraigned this morning in Westland and Garden City. The probable because the conference is scheduled for February 9, 2023  

In the meantime, Livonia Schools tells they are unable to comment at this time.

James Baird

James Baird