Pretrial conference to be scheduled in Lang case
CENTREVILLE — A pretrial conference will be scheduled in the case of former Sturgis Public Schools teacher Keith Andrew Lang, 38, after District Court Judge Jeffrey Middleton said he couldn’t accept a plea agreement between Lang and the St. Joseph County prosecutor’s office, which was subsequently withdrawn, in St. Joseph County District Court on Tuesday, July 25.
The former teacher was set to enter a no contest or guilty plea to one count of attempted fourth degree criminal sexual conduct. As part of the agreement, no jail time was recommended and after five years Lang would have been able to withdraw his plea and enter a plea of assault and battery. Lang’s defense attorney Anastase Markou said that would have allowed Lang to be removed from the sex offender registry. Lang would have also been required to resign from Sturgis Public Schools, which he has already done.
Middleton said the prosecutor’s office could recommend no jail time but he would not agree to it because he “doesn’t have enough facts,” and the charge “is subject to up to 365 days in jail.” Middleton also said the state would not allow a plea to be changed five years later because there’s “no legal authority” to do so, but even if the state did allow it, he said it’s still very difficult to get someone removed from the sex offender registry.
In January, St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough charged Lang with three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of distributing sexually explicit visual or verbal matter of children, one count of distributing or promoting child sexually abusive activity, one count of using a computer to commit a crime and one count of possession of child sexually abusive material.
A month later, the charges were amended to three counts of fourth-degree sexual conduct involving a student.
Lang is currently free on a $150,000 bond.
Alek Frost can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or firstname.lastname@example.org.