Kentwood teacher facing sexual misconduct, domestic violence charges

Kentwood teacher charged with stabbing

WYOMING, MICH. - A Crestwood Middle School teacher is facing both sexual assault and domestic violence charges, following an incident on June 27.

According to a news release from the school, James Chelekis, 31, a Crestwood Middle School teacher this past school year, has been charged with sexual misconduct with a student and assault with intent to commit murder. Both charges follow a stabbing incident between Chelekis and his wife at their home.

Wyoming police officers were dispatched to the couples home just before 6 a.m. on Tuesday, June 27. Chelekis' wife was taken to a local hospital with what Lieutenant Mark Easterly described as a "severe laceration to the front of the neck," but is in stable condition at this time. Police say the couple's two children were home during the incident. 

During the investigation, police learned that Chelekis was having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student at Crestwood Middle School. The student told police that the sexual relationship spanned over the course of a year and a half. 

According to Easterly, there is no indication that the Chelekis' wife knew about the relationship with the student and there have been no other reports of violent incidents at their home. 

While police investigate the case, the School District has placed Chelekis on administrative leave until the outcome is revealed. 

The school's superintendent Michael Zoerhoff issued this statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved. In deeply distressing  situations such as this, Kentwood Public Schools is committed to providing support and care for those affected by this case. Our first priority remains the well-being of our students and their families.

This type of event is difficult to comprehend; but we are unwavering in our commitment to excellence  in learning and safety in our schools. Staff members who violate the trust of our  community or who engage in behaviors outside of the values and policies of our  district will be held accountable for their actions.

We respect the privacy of our students and  employees and thus will not make any further statements at this time. Since this is a criminal matter, all questions should  be directed to the Wyoming Department of Public Safety."

Chelekis was arraigned in the 62A District Court on these additional charges on Friday morning. He faces two counts of first degree criminal sexual misconduct -- bond on these two charges was set at $750,000. 

Chelekis is currently being held at the Kent County Jail on a $1.75 million bond. He is expected to appear back in court on July 12.

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April Stevens is a multi-platform producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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