A high school teacher with Jenison Public Schools and a current staff member at Fremont Public Schools are under investigation. Sexual abuse allegations were made by a former student against the Jenison teacher, who was a staff member at Fremont Public Schools at the time of the alleged misconduct.
According to the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department, the alleged abuse involving the Jenison teacher began as early as 1991 and continued through the mid-1990s when the teacher worked at Fremont Public Schools. The victim alerted authorities of the alleged abuse at the end of January 2018.
Ottawa County Sheriff's Department Cpt. Mark Bennett said that the allegations brought against the two individuals are similar. The Jenison teacher and the Fremont staff member were friends during the 1990s, the timeframe involving the allegations.
The Jenison school district placed the 55-year-old Jenison teacher on leave on Jan. 29 while the investigation takes place. He is not currently in custody, and Capt. Mark Bennett with Ottawa County Sheriff's Department tells us that he will not speak to police and retained a lawyer.
The current Fremont staff member was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 1. The school district send home a letter to parents on Feb. 13, informing parents of the situation. In the letter, superintendent Ken Haggart says, "To my knowledge, the allegations concern this staff member’s contact with students who attended Fremont Public Schools more than 20 years ago."
The sheriff's department has been in contact with Fremont Public Schools, and Capt. Bennett says investigators have spoken to at least a dozen people so far involved in the allegations made against the Jenison teacher, some being potential additional victims.
"There may be more coming forward," Capt. Bennett said. One challenge he says investigators are facing is the statue of limitations and how it will impact certain charges, however it's still very early in the investigation."
Bennett also said that no additional, alleged victims from Ottawa County or Jenison Public Schools have been identified at this time.
In the Fremont letter, the Haggart says, "At this time, I have no reason to believe that any current students have been at risk." He also says that Michigan State Police are investigating the case.
Anyone with more information should contact the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department at 616-738-4094 or Silent Observer 877-887-4536.
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