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Michigan sex-assault trial to continue despite girl’s death

DETROIT – A former school district maintenance worker accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl last summer, is expected to stand trial in the western Michigan, despite her death, that is being investigated as a murder.

James Quinn, who was previously convicted for armed robbery, faces trial April 9, in Kent County Circuit Court of third-degree criminal sexual conduct against. The partially clothed body of 16-year-old Mujey Dumbuya, the girl he is accused of abuse, was found last month in a wooded area, approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) from her Grand Rapids home.

“We are still going forward” with the sexual assault trial, the Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Mujey family last saw her alive on Jan. 24 and when they went out to East Kentwood High School in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids. Passers-by found her body four days later in Kalamazoo, in southwest Michigan.

The decision of Kentwood Public Schools, the district Mujey attended, to hire James was discussed at a school board meeting Monday.

“Is that acceptable to our community, values and best practices to people with a criminal record is employed by the school?”, a parent, Mary Bruce, asked.

It is not clear if the 42-year-old James was hired. He was arrested in November and charged with third-degree criminal sexual acts with a person of the age of 13-15. He had been on the bond, but on Feb. 1 authorities in Kent County picked him up on a 2014 sexual assault charges related to the Mujey.

James told WOOD-TV in an interview Saturday from the Kent County Jail, that he never met Mujey and that he “has nothing to do with” her death and know nothing of.”

James’ public defender, not a message to the AP looking for comment on Tuesday.

The police said James told investigators he had consensual sex with the girl on at least two occasions.

No arrests have been made in her death, and James has not been charged in connection with that, the Kalamazoo police Capt. Shannon Bagley told the AP.

Since Mujey death is an active investigation, Bagley was careful with the disclosure of details of the case or direct connection of James.

“At this moment, I do not like that he is a person of interest,” Bagley said. “Of course, we are looking for everything right now. We have a vast amount of information we have to sift through.”

Kentwood Public Schools told parents, teachers and students of the secondary school about Mujey died in Jan. 31 letter. On Thursday, the district released information about James’ work, saying he was accepted as a member of the grounds and the maintenance of the crew. That letter also said that “none of his job responsibilities require contact with students.”

“The lord James was hired because he fits the qualifications for working as a gardener,” the letter said.

But “in the middle of November 2017, district leaders were made aware by a student and her family from an alleged attack that occurred during the summer of 2017, when the school is not in session,” the letter stated.

The district, said he investigated the allegations, and James was fired Nov. 30.

The district also said James is not to the student, “who was so tragically assassinated” by his work at school, but came in contact with her during the summer.

Still question the hiring of James, whose criminal record includes a 1991 armed robbery conviction in Kent County, according to MLive.com.

“To have someone with that background around children, you are the one making your children vulnerable,” parent Keith Edwards told WOOD-TV following Monday’s school board meeting. “I am for a second chance, to be honest, and I understand that people need to have a second chance. But you should still be vigilant and protect the children.”

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