(Photo: Screen Grab via WNEM)
A family who spoke out against a science teacher sentenced to prison for engaging in oral sex with their eighth grade son claim they were attacked after they sought to get several other teachers fired for supporting their son's predator in court.
On July 10 when John and Lori Janczewski attended the sentencing of ex-Rose City teacher Neal Erickson, who pleaded guilty to first degree criminal sexual conduct against their son, they were shocked to discover that a number of current teachers from the Rose City Middle School, their son's school, as well a board member, were being supportive of Erickson, according to The Ogemaw County Herald.
They later discovered that the group of educators had sent 10 letters of support to sentencing Judge Michael Baumgartner seeking lenience for Erickson.
"My wife and I are sick and sad at the support they gave a CSC 1 child molester," John Janczewski told the Herald on July 18 after Erickson was saddled with 15 to 30 sentence by the judge.
"We're very angry. We're happy with the sentence (Erickson) got. But we're very angry and not happy with the support of a board member and retired teacher. The message they're sending our kids is it's OK to molest a child, I believe, or that they'll turn an eye to it."
The board member was identified as Mike Eagan who said he wasn't supporting the teacher's actions but the teacher's family.
Letters of support, according to the Herald, also came from Toni Erickson, Carol Rau, Sally Campbell, Amy Huber Eagan, Harriett Coe, Marilyn Glover, Sandi Lee, Kathryn Weber, Kathleen Sheel and Kathleen Palmer, all generally asking the judge for a reduced sentence.
"Neal made a mistake," noted Campbell in her letter. "He allowed a mutual friendship to develop into much more. He realized his mistake and ended it years before someone anonymously sent something to the authorities which began this legal process," she noted.
"Neal has plead (sic) guilty for his one criminal offense but he is not a predator," wrote Coe. "This was an isolated incident. He understands the severity of his action and is sincere in his desire to make amends. He has been candid and conveyed his action to his family, friends and co-workers," she added.
A shocked Judge Baumgartner, however, said he couldn't believe the educators were supporting Erickson.
"I'm appalled and ashamed that the community could rally around, in this case, you," he told Erickson. "What you did was a jab in the eye with a sharp stick to every parent who trusts a teacher," he added before handing down the sentence.
Since the revelation of support from the educators for Erickson, the Janczewskis rallied members of their community who are supportive of the family to get their son's predator fired. Shortly after their campaign began, however, their home was attacked.
"At 1:30 in the morning on a Saturday, I was awoken to a bomb sound going off," an emotional John Janczewski told Glenn Beck.
"I went to the window to find my garage was on fire and engulfed in flames, my camper and the side of my house. ... If I wouldn't have woken up, we could've all died."
The family said they also had the letters "YWP" and "ITY" spray painted on the side of their house, which John Janczewski thinks mean "you will pay" and "I told you" according to The Blaze.
"Do you want somebody who says 15 to 30 years for raping a child, an eighth grader, is a little harsh? Do you want them teaching your child?" asked John Janczewski.
On Monday night, however, the Ogemaw County school board decided against firing any of the teachers involved in the controversy.