Who wrote the letters? School chief acquitted at trial

BELLAIRE, Mich. (AP) - A school superintendent in northern Michigan said he feels blessed after a jury acquitted him in an investigation of anonymous allegations of assault against a principal.

"My message to anyone who wants to listen is to keep the faith," Terry Starr said after the verdict Friday in Antrim County court. "Believe in something and know that things will get better eventually."

Starr is superintendent in the Kalkaska district, near Traverse City. He was accused of sending anonymous letters to Elk Rapids school officials in 2018, accusing a principal of grabbing the buttocks of a cheerleader years earlier. No assault occurred.

Starr denied the allegations. He worked in Elk Rapids at the time.

Starr was charged with three misdemeanors: false report of a crime to police, intentional false report of child abuse to the state, and false report of criminal sexual conduct.

Jurors heard testimony from handwriting analysts who looked at envelopes. A defense expert found inconsistencies with Starr's handwriting samples and writing on the envelopes.

"It would have been a miscarriage of justice if he'd been convicted," defense attorney Donald Passenger told the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Published: Tue, Mar 17, 2020