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Ex Godwin Heights Middle School teacher charged with 1996 sexual conduct

The Wyoming Police Department said a victim recently came forward about the alleged incident launching an investigation.

WYOMING, Mich. — A former middle school teacher in Wyoming is now facing a criminal sexual conduct charge dating back to a 1996 incident.

Charles L. Elsenheimer, 49, was a teacher at Godwin Heights Public Schools when the offense allegedly occurred. 

The victim, a middle school student at the time, came forward to police in late 2021, which launched an investigation into the allegations.

The victim, who is now an adult, reported that the incidents occurred between 1996 and 1997 and lasted for several months. She reported that the incidents happened both in school and outside of school.

Superintendent Bill Fetterhoff said he is aware of the police investigation and said the district handed over all documentation to the authorities. 

He said Elsenheimer hasn't been employed by the district for a "considerable amount of time."

Elsenheimer was charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said the statute of limitations was expanded for this crime over the past several years which is a good thing even if the case is more difficult to prove.

"Victims don't immediately report especially when they're kids," Becker said. "A lot of the times there's delayed disclosure where the victims don't come forward immediately no matter how much parents or caregivers say. 'tell mommy and daddy if something bad happens.' They're very hesitant to do that and so it can take time for a victim to report what exactly happened to her. I use 'her' because it is 'her' the vast majority of the time."

Elsenheimer was arrested and arraigned on the charge on Feb. 10. He is due in court for a probable cause conference on Wednesday.

Investigators are asking if anyone has information regarding this case to please contact the Wyoming Department of Public Safety at (616) 530-7300 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345; 1-866-774-2345; or https://www.silentobserver.org.

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