This morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Judge Roy C. Hayes, III sentenced Benjamin Walter Bolser, 25, East Jordan, to six months in jail and 36 months on probation following his guilty plea to a charge of accosting a minor.
Bolser admitted sending Facebook messages soliciting sex from a 15 year old Boyne City High School student while he was a student teacher there.
The six month sentence was at the high end of the sentencing guidelines, largely because Bolser had no prior criminal history. Judge Hayes noted that in addition to the jail time, Bolser had already “paid a very severe price” and “incurred significant punishment.”
Michelle Deming who was Bolser’s supervising teacher addressed the court and said that Bolser “abused the privilege and gift” it is to work with students. She pointed out that Bolser was only four weeks away from having his teaching certificate at the time his actions came to light.
According to his attorney and Judge Hayes, Bolser has now been dismissed from the Central Michigan University teaching program and is at risk of using his four years of college credit earned there.
He is on the Michigan sex offender registry for a 25 year period as a result of his conviction.
“The sex offender registration is the most important aspect of this conviction, in my opinion,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “That will ensure that the defendant is not able to teach or work with children anywhere. That is the best way to protect the public.”
Judge Hayes said that it appeared that Bolser had engaged in predatory behavior seeking out vulnerable potential victims and the only reason physical contact had not occurred was because the victims had rejected his requests.
“It is truly unfortunate that at least in the beginning of this prosecution, it was the victim who was being blamed,” Telgenhof said. “The defendant was a popular figure at BCHS and some chose to place responsibility for his firing on her. She was a child and she wasn’t the one responsible for the defendant’s actions or the consequences. She never wanted to be in the spotlight or to see him punished, he is the one who brought all of this on.”