JROTC instructor arrested charged for assault, inappropriate contact with Kentwood HS student

An instructor working at Kentwood High School for the JROTC program has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a student and sending inappropriate messages to her. 

Marine instructor Gunnery Sergeant Joseph Byrd was charged with third-degree child rape and communication with a minor for immoral purposes after it was discovered he allegedly had inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old.

According to court documents, 45-year-old Byrd assaulted the teen on school grounds and sent sexually explicit text messages to her.

The girl was not a participant in the JROTC program through her school but would frequently be in JROTC classrooms to talk to instructors, court documents say. 

On May 4, he texted the teen saying, "district is suspending me. We can't text anymore."  Then followed it up with, "delete everything. Deny everything," according to court documents. 

"Clearly, the defendant knew his behavior was illegal and inappropriate and was actively trying to hide it," the prosecuting attorney's office wrote in court documents.

Byrd was arrested on June 9 after a search warrant was conducted at his home.  

Prosecutors requested bail be set at $150,000. They also requested Byrd have no contact with the teen or with any minor.