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Ex-Teacher in Michigan Blindfolded and Sexually Assaulted Visually Impaired Kids as Young as 10: Prosecutors

James Adam Baird (Garden City PD)

James Adam Baird (Garden City PD)

A 43-year-old former teacher in Michigan is accused of blindfolding and molesting four girls between the ages of 10 and 15, three of whom were blindfolded during eye exams when they were allegedly sexually assaulted.

James Adam Baird was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with the alleged attacks, which took place between 2018 and 2020, prosecutors said.

The first attack took place at noon on Jan. 4, 2018, at the Douglas Elementary School located in the 6400 block of Hartel Street in Garden City, according to a news release from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. Baird allegedly sexually assaulted a then-10-year-old victim multiple times while administering a vision test, authorities said.

The second alleged attack took place on March 1, 2018, at noon inside a school located in the 35000 block of Bayview Street in Westland, authorities said. Baird allegedly blindfolded the then-13-year-old victim, before sexually assaulting her, officials alleged.

Two other victims were also allegedly blindfolded and sexually assaulted by Baird, authorities alleged. The third attack also allegedly took place at Douglas Elementary School in May 2019. The victim was an 11-year-old girl, prosecutors said.

The final alleged attack, at Stevenson Middle School in Westland, involved a 15-year-old girl, officials said.

Baird is also facing four separate lawsuits from parents of students who claim their children were sexually assaulted by him at their schools. Two were filed by the parents of 8-year-old girls at Douglas Elementary School in Garden City.

The complaints claim that Baird was a vision mobility specialist who worked with children who had vision impairments. During the school day, he is accused of putting goggles on the victims’ heads that block light, called occluders, before groping them. The parents said the district opened an investigation into the alleged assaults but failed to notify them that their children were involved.

Two other complaints allege cases at a middle school and another from an elementary school.

Baird was arraigned on all four cases Wednesday; two in Westland’s 18th District Court and two in Garden City’s 21st District Court. He was released after posting $130,000 total in personal bonds and is required to wear a GPS tracker and cannot have any contact with females under the age of 18 while on pretrial release.

(image via Garden City Police)

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.