MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - Evan Emory, the 21-year-old singer who posted a video on YouTube that appeared to show him singing an explicit song to elementary students, was arraigned on a felony charge Wednesday.
Students' parents and protesters gathered for Emory's arraignment.
If convicted, he could spend 20 years in prison on the charge of manufacturing child sexual abusive material. He was released on a $5,000 bond, which angered some.
When asked whether Emory should receive jail time, one parent said: "Yeah, he's a big boy. He's smart enough to know not to do something like that."
Meanwhile, Emory's supporters gathered to protest the charges.
"I think they're taking it way too far with a 20-year felony," Justin Sloan said.
In January, Emory performed at the Beechnau School under the pretense he was working on a personal project. A teacher he knew at the school agreed to let him come in and videotape.
Emory and a friend taped his performance with students in the classroom. Then, later, without anyone else in the room, he was videotaped performing an explicit song, then edited it to make it appear he sang to the elementary students. It was posted on YouTube earlier this week, and was taken down Tuesday.
It also came out in court that Emory recently showed the video at an open mic night in Muskegon.
Ravenna school superintendent John VanLoon wanted criminal charges pressed. Muskegon County prosecutor Tony Tague authorized the charges and Emory was arrested.
"(It's a) very bad error in judgment on his part," said Terry Nolan, Emory's attorney. "I know he's remorseful. I know he feels badly toward the school that trusted him."
Nolan admitted he's preparing to defend a client in a fairly uncharted territory of the law.
"There are some very complicated legal issues involved in this case, which frankly, I haven't had time to explore them all," he said.
Tague said despite the broad language and severity of the charge, he believes the case is solid.
"It clearly falls within a criminal statute, and I think anyone who thinks it's a prank has not thought about the impact that it could have on these very young children and their families -- as well as the entire community," Tague said.
The incident is still under investigation, he added. Prosecutors are looking at anyone who may have participated in shooting the video, and said Emory could face additional charges.
Emory's preliminary exam is set for March 2. He is able to keep working at his job, at Applebee's, but can't attend any more open mic nights and isn't permitted to have contact with children.
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