Traverse City Record-Eagle

Newsmakers 2011

December 19, 2011

Newsmakers: Former school system administrator eligible for parole in year 2051

TRAVERSE CITY — Online prison records show Michael Porter won't be eligible for parole until 2051.

If he lives to face a parole officer, he'll be 88 years old.

Porter, a former top administrator at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, received a lengthy prison term in May. Jurors in April found Porter guilty on five counts of possessing child sexually abusive material, three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and a count of using a computer to commit a crime.

Porter repeatedly assaulted two young female relatives over a period of several years, authorities said, though the charges were tied to just one victim. Prosecutors handle large amounts of sex abuse cases, but the habitual nature of Porter's crimes, his relationship to the victims and his remorseless attitude made Porter's case more troubling than most.

"This one was especially heinous," said Assistant Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg, who handled the case.

Porter, 48, had been the ISD's chief technology officer from May 2008 until his resignation in January; he most recently earned $105,000. In addition to the assaults, police found more than 400 images of child pornography on a school-issued computer.

Porter was rude, condescending and defiant on the stand during trial, Moeggenberg said. He denied wrongdoing, spoke harshly to Moeggenberg and others, and generally was difficult throughout proceedings.

"He had this complete and utter arrogance," she said. "He would talk down to me when he answered questions; he (talked down) to the jury."

Jurors found Porter guilty, and he appeared completely emotionless at his May sentencing.

"He didn't win," Moeggenberg said. "That was huge."

Porter's victims are doing well, Moeggenberg said. They're getting good grades in school — one started college this year — and moving on with their lives.

ISD Superintendent Mike Hill said the case was troubling for the district, prosecutors, Porter's family and others associated with it.

"It was a complete shock, and to go through that was extremely painful for everyone involved," he said.

Hill hired Porter, and Porter reported directly to Hill. The charges weren't easy for Hill to contemplate.

"I took it very personally," Hill said. "It was definitely a low point in my career."

The district did not hire another technology director. Porter's duties were instead transferred to Assistant Superintendent Jason Jeffrey, Hill said.

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