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Cairo woman attempts to enroll in high school, faces felony charges

Michaelann Goodrich
January 3, 2019 03:20 pm Updated: January 3, 2019 04:24 pm

CAIRO — A Cairo woman is facing charges after she pretended to be a 15-year-old homeless student and tried to enroll in a local high school, police said Thursday.

Michaelann Goodrich, 32, attempted to enroll as a student in the Cairo-Durham school district under the alias Riley Madison, according to a statement from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

She was arrested and charged Dec. 28 with first-degree offering false instrument for filing, a class E felony; first-degree falsifying business records, a class E felony; and third-degree criminal trespass, a class B misdemeanor.

Goodrich attempted to enroll at Cairo-Durham on Dec. 19, Superintendent Anthony Taibi said.

“We notified law enforcement immediately,” he said.

Because Goodrich identified herself as a homeless student, the district was required to follow special procedures identified in the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, Taibi said, which provides federal money to combat homelessness.

“We consulted with law enforcement based upon the circumstances and proceeded accordingly,” Taibi said.

The superintendent did not know if mental illness played a role in Goodrich’s actions.

“I can’t speculate on that,” Taibi said. “I don’t know what her motives were.”

Goodrich’s attempt to enroll as a homeless student was suspicious, police said.

“The Cairo-Durham School District followed appropriate procedures and contacted local authorities to investigate,” according to the statement from the sheriff’s office.

Students returned to school Wednesday from winter break. The investigation was completed before school reopened, police said.

Goodrich was also under supervision from an adult when in the school, as per the school’s procedure, Taibi said.

Investigators are uncertain if Goodrich has made other attempts to falsify records, enroll in schools or access children, according to police.

Anyone with information about Goodrich is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office Investigation Unit at 518-943-3300.

At first impression it seems questionable that the Sheriff, rather than social or psychiatric services were the lead agency on this case. That's just common sense. It is not unreasonable that school superintendent Anthony Taibi contacted law enforcement. But, it shows the knee jerk response of the Sheriff's Department to pursue everything as a criminal matter, when mental health would seem to be a possible issue here. The reflex to prosecute every possible crime as a fraud can wind up wasting money and resources and not addressing the root cause. It's impossible to say without a professional evaluation. But once again, we see a 'shoot first' and ask questions later approach on the part of the Sheriff. Falsifying records does not pose a physical threat to others. Unless the Sheriff is withholding information, this comes across as a macho over reaction and poor use of County resources.