In this undated photo provided by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in Catskill, N.Y., Michaelann Goodrich is shown. Goodrich, 32, of Cairo, NY, is facing charges of offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing after police said she posed as a homeless teen and tried to enroll in high school classes. (Greene County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

32-year-old enrolls in U.S. high school as teen

School officials were required by federal law to accept her because she claimed she was homeless

A 32-year-old woman faces felony charges for posing as a homeless teenager to enrol and attend classes at a high school in the Catskill Mountains, authorities said Friday as they tried to determine her motive.

Michaelann Goodrich presented herself as a 15-year-old to enrol in the Cairo-Durham school district 40 miles (64 kilometres) southwest of Albany last month, School Superintendent Anthony Taibi said Friday. Officials were skeptical of her story when Goodrich enrolled on Dec. 19 under the name “Riley Madison,” but they were required by federal law to accept her because she claimed she was homeless, Taibi said.

“The regulation exists to ensure that students who are runaway or abducted youth get into an accountable, safe environment as quickly as possible,” Taibi said. “It has worked well, but this situation highlights a vulnerability that exists.”

READ MORE: Homeowner surprised when renter invites homeless camp to B.C. backyard

School officials contacted the sheriff’s office to launch an investigation, but in the meantime, Goodrich rode on a school bus, attended classes and had lunch at school on Dec. 21, before the holiday break, Taibi said.

“We made sure that under no circumstances was she not under the supervision of a staff member,” Taibi said.

Greene County Sheriff’s Investigator Joel Rowell said Goodrich, who lives in Cairo with her husband, was charged Dec. 28 with offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing. She was released from jail after a court appearance Thursday evening, to await further court action.

The public defender assigned to Goodrich didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

READ MORE: Okanagan teens get eviction notice in forest fort

Rowell said Goodrich and her husband previously lived in California and Washington state and it’s unclear how long they’ve been in Cairo. He said Goodrich has no job or children, but does have a diploma from a high school in California.

In the 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed,” Drew Barrymore plays a journalist who poses as a high school student to gather details for a story. But officials have no idea what Goodrich’s motivation was.

“She didn’t have an explanation,” Rowell said. “That’s why we’re reaching out to parents of kids who were with her in school or on the bus to find out what their interactions were, so we can try to determine her motive.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Festival planned for Easter weekend

Organizers preparing 10,000 eggs for hunt at Summerland’s Easter Egg-stravaganza

Behind the mask of the South Okanagan furries community

Penticton furries community member said it’s not a sexual thing

Summerland experiences effects of sudden warm temperatures

Water pools near sports fields; minor landslide affects Garnet Valley Road as snow melts

Crown drops one Vernon assault charge against Curtis Sagmoen

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

COLUMN: Awaiting the signs of spring

After a long winter, many are wondering when the cold season will be over

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Update: Highway 3 near Keremeos open to alternating traffic

Details scarce about collision that has closed Highway 3 west of Keremeos

Okanagan librarian delves into trio of titles

Book Talk: Dark Matter, Lincoln’s Dreams and The Jealous Kind

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Indigenous students recognized at ceremony at Okanagan College

The ceremony recognizes that students are getting an education while holding onto Indigenous background and teachings

Most Read