4 Weather Alerts //
- Weather Alert 1 - Winter Weather Advisory issued December 10 at…
- Weather Alert 2 - Winter Weather Advisory issued December 10 at…
- Weather Alert 3 - Winter Weather Advisory issued December 11 at…
18 Closings //See All >>
PLAINWELL, Mich. (WOOD) - A teacher from Plainwell High School has been arrested and faces charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and obstruction of justice.
The teacher is facing the charges in connection to an alleged relationship with a student, according to the Plainwell Department of Public Safety.
24 Hour News 8 has learned the teacher is Kelly Laker, and according to the school's website, Laker teaches children with special needs at the high school.
At this time it is not clear if the alleged relationship was with a student whom Laker taught.
On Saturday, 24 Hour News 8 went to Laker's house to get a response from the teacher. There was no answer at the residence. However, several hours later, Laker's attorney called 24 Hour News 8 on his client's behalf.
Attorney Phil Iorio told 24 Hour News 8, "Charges are denied. We look forward to vigorously defending against theses charges in court and we expect that Mr. Laker will be fully exonerated."
On Friday, an e-mail was sent to Plainwell parents from Superintendent Sue Wakefield. A voicemail was also left for parents with the same statement as the email.
A former student of Laker's said the allegations are surprising.
"I didn't think he would do something like that he didn't seem like that type of guy," said Matthew Blake.
Neighbors of Laker's were shocked when 24 Hour News 8 informed them about the allegations.
"The hardest part about this for me to put it into perspective is that he seems liked such a friendly person. He never had any sort of negative connotation towards me. He volunteered his services volunteered himself to come over to help us with our yard and our lawn and to find this out is shocking," said Jason Fellows.
According to a statement from the school, the allegations against Laker surfaced on March 15 and Laker was placed on immediate administrative leave.
However, parents in the district were not notified about the allegations until May 31.
"I feel as a parent, you know, my child is younger and not in the high school, but we should have known about this when it happened or at least been aware that this was going on so we could teach our child, you know, what to do when somebody touches you inappropriately instead of finding out about it later on."
24 Hour News 8 obtained a copy of the email sent to parents --
Dear Parents and Community Members,
We would like to inform you of an incident that has recently occurred in our district.
On March 15, 2013, a Plainwell High School teacher was placed on an immediate administrative leave pending an investigation into misconduct with a student. At that time, the district reported the alleged misconduct to both Plainwell Public Safety and Child Protective Services. We have continued to maintain close communication with the authorities throughout the entire investigation. The investigation led to the arrest of the teacher who has been charged with a felony. As this is an active criminal case, we ask that you help protect all parties by speaking with your student to not engage in spreading gossip or degradation of any party and allow the legal system to work its course.
Our first priority is the safety and welfare of our students and we are deliberate in our actions in order to ensure their well-being. This alleged conduct will not be tolerated anywhere in Plainwell Community Schools. Know that the district has taken a strong stance regarding this case. We remain committed to providing your student a safe and secure environment.
Sincerely, Susan Wakefield
The heaviest snow showers will track through midday.
Ten people have filed a class action suit against Mercantile Bank, alleging the bank discriminated against minority business owners.
A camera mounted on a tow truck caught an example of a common incident Tuesday: a vehicle sliding off the road.