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Former Muskegon Heights school faculty member admits to having sex with 15-year-old student

Zolton Vines admitted before a judge that he had inappropriate sexual contact with a girl who was 15 years old at the time.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — A former Muskegon Heights school faculty member admitted in court before a judge that he had sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Zolton Vines said he was 31 years old at the time. 

Vines was initially charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, but in a hearing last week, an attorney for the defense and the prosecutor agreed to a deal lowering the charge to second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC). 

The second-degree CSC felony charge carries a max sentence of 15 years and does not have a minimum sentence. 

The judge said Vines' sentence will not exceed 12 months in jail if he enters a guilty plea, and this charge would also allow him to order probation. 

RELATED: Muskegon Heights Schools faculty member charged with sex crimes over alleged relationship with student

The plea agreement hinges on whether or not the victim and family agree with the plea deal. 

Vines must register as a sex offender after he serves whatever sentence the judge hands down. 

Based on those conditions, Vines pleaded guilty. 

The Muskegon Heights Police Department launched an investigation after being made aware of possible sexual inappropriate behavior involving a faculty member, since identified as Vines at Muskegon Heights Public School Academy, and a student.

Police were first made aware of the possible relationship in June 2022.

The judge set the sentencing date to March 28. 

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