Barb Byrum, husband deny wrongdoing in civil rights case involving their son

Couple files motion to dismiss in Grand Rapids federal court


(This story has been updated to correct an error in the previous version, which said Ingham County Clerk  Barb Byrum has not said whether she will run again. Byrum emailed supporters on Feb. 1 that she had filed for a fourth term.)

THURSDAY, Feb. 15 — Conduct by Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum and her husband to readmit their son to Mason High School was “perfectly legal and reasonable,” according to a motion to dismiss a federal civil rights lawsuit that claims they had used “political influence.”

The Mason school system expelled their son in 2022 after he allegedly sexually assaulted another eighth grader during a class at Mason Middle School, the suit against Byrum and her husband contends.  A year later, the youth was readmitted after Byrum and her husband successfully petitioned the Mason Public Schools Board of Education. Byrum’s husband, Brad Delaney, is a detective sergeant in the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.

The mother of the alleged victim filed a lawsuit on Feb. 2, claiming that her daughter’s civil rights were being violated by his presence at the high school. Besides Byrum and Delaney, the principal, assistant principal and the school district have been named defendants.

According to the suit against them, the school district expelled the youth after a Title IX investigation. Title IX is a federal law that protects women against discrimination in education.

“Plaintiff does not allege that Defendants Byrum and Delaney did anything aside from submit the reinstatement petition,” their motion asserts. The motion was written by Uri Abt, an East Lansing lawyer, and submitted to U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids on Tuesday. Under Michigan law, the motion states, parents may petition for reinstatement.

“In order to bootstrap this perfectly legal and reasonable conduct into a lawsuit she (the alleged victim’s mother) … alleges that they (Bryum and Delaney) ‘use[d] their political influence,’ and that ‘upon information and belief Defendants Mason Public Schools and the Mason Board of Education violated Plaintiff’s civil rights pursuant to an agreement with or in concert with’ Defendants,” the motion to dismiss says.

“Plaintiff does not allege any facts, as she cannot in good faith, that support those conclusory and false allegations,” it adds.

The motion cites two counts against Byrum and Delaney — civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress — and asks for them to be dismissed “with prejudice,” which means the plaintiff could not refile the same claim in the same court.

The motion to dismiss points out that the school board readmitted the youth provided that he abide by a no-contact order. It adds that the girl’s mother “does not allege that (the youth) ever violated the conditions of his expulsion or the no-contact order.”

However, the suit against the five defendants says, “Despite the severity of the incident and mental trauma associated with (the boy’s) appearance, (the girl) continues to see (him) every day at school even with the No-Contact order in place.”

It adds that the personal protection order by Ingham County Probate Judge Richard Garcia said that the boy “poses a credible threat to the physical safety of (the girl) and interferes with (her) place of education or engaging in conduct that impairs her educational relationship or environment.”

The plaintiff’s suit claims that the Title IX investigation supported allegations that the boy had fingered the girl in one incident and then later made unwanted physical contact with her in another classroom before she moved away from him.

The suit said the girl and her family chose not to press criminal charges because of her desire to move on.

City Pulse is not providing information that would identify the alleged victim to respect her privacy. Given the lack of charges and that the boy is a minor, City Pulse would also usually protect his identity as well. However, in light of the accusation involving political influence, it is identifying Byrum and Delaney because of her status as a public figure and her husband's as a law enforcement official. Other media have so far chosen not to identify Byrum and her husband in an apparent effort to avoid identifying their son.

Byrum has been elected three times as Ingham County clerk and served as a state representative before that.  She also comes from a prominent political family. Byrum announced on Feb. 1 that she has filed to run in the Democratic primary for a fourth term.

Byrum and her husband have not commented publicly on the case, except for Byrum to tell City Pulse, “There are minors involved, so no names should be mentioned." 


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