Albion councilman faces sex charge

Albion City Councilman Maurice Barnes has been accused of criminal sexual conduct.

Barnes, 60, was arraigned in Calhoun County District Court on Tuesday before Magistrate Earl Brutsche. He is charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, meaning he allegedly touched a child younger than 13.

According to court documents, a warrant was issued against Barnes on Monday. The incident is alleged to to have happened Sept. 25 in Albion.

Appearing at his arraignment by video, Barnes was ordered by the magistrate to stay off Albion Public Schools and Marshall Public Schools property. Barnes had volunteered as a worker at Albion schools, including as a crossing guard.

“We would like an order precluding him from entry of any school property and no contact with the victim or the victim’s family,” Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert told Brutsche.

Brutsche also ordered Barnes to have no contact with children 16 or younger without the court’s permission.

If convicted, Barnes could face 22 years in prison and a lifetime of electronic monitoring if on parole. The penalties are more severe because Barnes was convicted of operating a drug house in Kent County in 2004.

Outside of the court room, Elizabeth Craig of Detroit said she has been a friend of Barnes for more than 30 years. She said she didn’t believe the allegations and is “dumbfounded.”

“I am numb about the situation,” Craig said. In a million years, he would never do this, ever. He loves kids, and the children of Albion, he has done so much for those kids. Not only those kids, but the city of Albion.”

Craig said Barnes has been a crossing guard and a lunchroom worker at Albion schools.

“I’m standing by Maurice Barnes,” Craig said.

Barnes is scheduled to appear at a preliminary examination before Calhoun County District Court Judge Frank Line Nov. 2.

Source: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/10/13/albion-councilman-sex-charges/73893960/