This week, 61-year-old Kelly Laker pleaded no contest in the alleged sexual abuse of a student. Laker, who was placed on paid leave from Plainwell High School in March when allegations surfaced, resigned his position as a special education teacher in August. He was initially charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct according to a news article at Mlive.com.
Allegan County Circuit Court documents state that Laker sexually abused a special education at the school; he allegedly told a student he wanted to take her virginity, and wrote “love letters” to her. At a probable cause hearing in May, testimony revealed that the victim told police that on multiple occasions Laker had her fondle him through his clothing, and that he had kissed her. She alleges that the defendant called her on the night prior to her being interviewed by police, telling her to deny everything. Detective John Varley testified that the telephone call between Laker and the alleged victim was verified through phone records. Varley also testified that the victim told him Laker “wanted to be her first,” and that he had asked her for sex.
Police were contacted by the school in March after several students claimed to see the teacher kissing the victim on the forehead while he appeared to be consoling her in a back room. The girl’s mother contacted authorities the following day, claiming to have found what appeared to be love letters hidden in the girl’s bedroom.
In exchange for pleading no contest, the charges against Laker were reduced to two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The charges Laker originally faced were felonies; fourth-degree CSC is a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison.
Allegations of sexual misconduct are treated very seriously in the state of Michigan; in fact, those charged with first-degree CSC may face up to life in prison if convicted. The criminal penalties are harsh, however many who are accused find the real damage is in the form of a ruined career and reputation. Those required to register as sex offenders often experience a stigma that surrounds them for a lifetime.
Regardless of whether you have been accused of rape, child molesting, possessing child pornographic material or an Internet sex crime, consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan sex crime defense attorney right away.