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Official plans 'appropriate action'.

Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

FINN ROCK - McKenzie School District's superintendent said Tuesday that he will take "appropriate administrative action" against a special education teacher who faces a misdemeanor charge after allegedly being caught having sex with a woman in a vehicle parked outside a Eugene bowling alley.

McKenzie Elementary School teacher Michael Anthony Abrams on Friday pleaded not guilty in Lane County Circuit Court to a charge of public indecency.

Abrams teaches special education at the Finn Rock area school and also works with children who need extra help learning math and reading skills, district Superintendent Jim Thomas said Tuesday.

Court records list Abrams, 42, as being a resident of Sisters. He and April Garilee Brooks, 36, of Eugene were charged with misdemeanors after Eugene police officer Steven Heigh allegedly found the pair apparently having sex inside a sport utility vehicle parked outside Firs Bowl at 11:40 p.m. on Dec. 26, Heigh wrote in a probable-cause affidavit filed in court.

Thomas said he learned of the case late Friday, and had not spoken about it with Abrams as of midday Tuesday.

Thomas said he believed Abrams was working at the elementary school on Tuesday, and that he planned to talk with the teacher later in the day. He declined to say if he expected Abrams would be placed on administrative leave while the criminal case is pending.

"I will take appropriate administrative action," Thomas said. He added that Abrams "is still innocent until proven guilty" but that "things like this can ruin a person's career."

Abrams and Brooks - who also pleaded not guilty on Friday - were not jailed in connection with the incident. Both are scheduled to return to court for pretrial conferences on Feb. 22.

Abrams did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment on Tuesday. Court records state that he plans to hire his own attorney to represent him. Brooks declined comment when reached by phone.

The school district website lists Abrams as one of 11 faculty members at the elementary school. According to a 2012 story published in The Nugget newspaper in Sisters, Abrams previously worked in Eugene, Astoria and Sisters. An online search shows that Abrams was listed as a staff member at Cal Young Middle School in Eugene in 2006 and 2007.

Follow Jack on Twitter @JackMoranRG. Email jack.moran@registerguard.com.

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Title Annotation:Lane County Circuit Court; The McKenzie schools chief says a teacher charged with public indecency is innocent until proven guilty
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 20, 2016
Words:391
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