HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) - Allegations of fondling a female student about 24 years ago recently cost a Hastings school teacher her job.
Janice Bowers was a gym teacher and softball coach at Hastings schools for more than 20 years.
But last spring, a parent accused Bowers of having an inappropriate relationship with her and sleeping in the same bed, fondling and kissing her in 1988.
According to documents obtained by 24 Hour News 8, these allegations surfaced only after the alleged victim's daughters were placed in Bowers' gym class.
During the investigation, former Hastings Superintendent Michelle Falcon said she found the allegations had merit and Bowers was placed on leave.
"I never would've gone forward if I didn't believe the accuser," said Falcon. "If I had to do this investigation over again, I wouldn't do anything differently."
After a year of fighting for her position, the State Tenure Commission ruled Bowers should be discharged.
However, Bowers said allegations are 100-percent false and have changed her life.
"I've lived in this town my whole life and there is nothing anybody can say that I've ever touched or grabbed a kid or anything like that," said Bowers.
Police told 24 Hour News 8 that even if there was enough evidence to prosecute Bowers, the statute of limitations had ran out. Bowers is now considering legal action for defamation of character.
"Try to go around town holding your head up high," said Bowers.
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