Former Avondale teacher charged with sex assault of student from 20 years ago

A former teacher is facing charges for a crime that allegedly happened in Troy nearly 20 years ago, due in large part to the #MeToo movement.

Aaron Donaghy, 47, is accused of three counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.  According to police his victim was a 15-year-old student at Avondale high school and Donaghy was her teacher. 

This happened nearly 20 ago during 1999-2000 school year, but it wasn't reported until December of 2017. 
"Teens and children sometimes blame themselves," said Sgt. Meghan Lehman, Troy police. "It's not until they become adults do they realize they were a victim here and feel the need to come forward. So in this case it might have been she felt the need to protect other kids"

Police say in cases like this. it’s common for allegations to surface years after the crime - creating challenges for detectives. 

"We are talking to other people that were around at the time that perhaps the victim talked to or the suspect so it can be done," Lehman said.

Over the past 10 months that is what Troy police have been doing in this case, tracking down Donaghy in Texas and serving him with an arrest warrant. He appeared in court on Monday. It is the latest in a trend of sex abuse reports.

"We don't as a city have a ton," Lehman said. "But we did have a fairly significant increase last year."

To put it in perspective, in the city of Troy, there were 25 reports of sex crimes in 2017, compared to 14 in 2016. The police say this could all be due to a societal movement of increased reporting of sex crimes.

The increase comes around the same time as the 'me too' movement gained momentum, public allegations making national news against very influential figures. 

"People are coming forward and we are able to investigate these crimes and we can potentially get people who are dangerous off the street," Lehman said.

Now that Donaghy has officially been charged with the crime, the Avondale district released a statement on Tuesday which reads in part:

"Mr. Donaghy is not and has not been teaching in the district since December 2017, when he was placed on administrative leave when the allegations first came to the attention of the district."

As for the 20 years it took to bring the allegations forward. Michigan law has no statute of limitations for first degree sex crimes. And just this June Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law eliminating all time limits for second degree sex crime involving a minor.