Lawsuit: Teacher Sexually Assaulted 4 Girls in Westland, Garden City

Prosecutors say a former teacher is accused of sexually assaulting four girls, who are between the ages of 10 and 15.

Between 2018 and 2020, James Baird, 43, of Plymouth, is accused of sexually assaulting four girls: a 10-year-old girl from Garden City, a 13-year-old girl from Westland, an 11-year-old girl from Dearborn, and a 15-year-old girl from Wayne. He is accused of two charges of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and two instances of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree.

According to a news statement from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, the first reported sexual assault happened in January 2018 in Garden City at the Douglas Elementary School. He is charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old child while conducting vision exams.

According to the press statement, he is also charged with sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in March 2018 at Marshall Upper Elementary School in Westland. He reportedly put a blindfold on her and attacked her sexually. According to the news release, Baird reportedly sexually abused an 11-year-old girl in May 2019 at Garden City’s Douglas Elementary School. She was also allegedly sexually assaulted while wearing a blindfold.

According to the news statement, the last accusation relates to an alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old female in February 2020 at Stevenson Middle School in Westland. She was also allegedly sexually assaulted while wearing a blindfold.

Baird appeared in court on Wednesday in Westland’s 18th District Court. He was issued a GPS-tethered $100,000 personal recognizance bail and is not permitted to speak to anybody under the age of 18. He was also charged on Wednesday and released on a $15,000 personal recognizance bail after being arraigned in Garden City’s 21st District Court.

Parents of girls who accused Baird of sexual abuse are suing him in four separate cases.

The first two claims were filed in 2021 and accused him of sexually abusing two blind 8-year-old children at Garden City’s Douglas Elementary School after covering their eyes with occluders, or dark-blocking goggles. He worked with children who were visually impaired or blind, teaching them how to properly navigate their surroundings.

According to the complaint, he was a visual mobility expert for Livonia schools and employed by Garden City schools under contract in 2018 and 2019.

The complaint asserts that the school system failed to inform families or the general public that sexual assault accusations had been lodged and were the subject of an inquiry.

The other two cases were brought in April and December, respectively. They came from the parents of a Marshall Upper Elementary kid who was reportedly sexually abused many times between 2017 and 2019, as well as from the parents of a Stevenson Middle School student who was allegedly sexually raped in February 2020.