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Clinton Township — A teacher at Chippewa Valley High School was arraigned Friday on a sexual misconduct charge after he allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with a 16-year-old student last year.

Christopher Cowles, 23, was charged in 41B District Court with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to the Clinton Township Police Department. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

A not-guilty plea was entered and bond was set at $250,000. He was incarcerated in the Macomb County Jail.

The charge stems from alleged contact between Cowles and a female student in early 2014, said Capt. Richard Maierle, who could not confirm if there was more than one incident. The girl’s mother contacted police about a month ago, he said. The girl has since turned 17, Maierle said.

Cowles was arrested Thursday at his home in Clinton Township.

He was placed on unpaid administrative leave by the school when the incident was discovered, according to Diane Blain, director of community relations for the school district.

The district also has barred him from school premises, school events and contact with students, according to a news release from the district. The release also said the district cooperated with police in the investigation.

Cowles was hired in January 2014 as a Career Technical Education teacher to fill a vacancy, the release said. He was fingerprinted and underwent a criminal background check as part of the district’s hiring procedures. Cowles passed his background check, the district said.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

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