HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) - Former Major League Baseball player Chad Curtis was charged with five counts of criminal sexual conduct that investigators say happened inside Lakewood High School in Barry County.
Curtis was jailed briefly on the charges before he was released after posting $25,000 for bail, 10% of the bond set by the judge at his arraignment Thursday afternoon.
While the case involved six complainants , prosecutors said, evidence lead to charges for two victims.
The charges range from misdemeanors to 15 year felonies. One for criminal sexual conduct in the 3rd-degree, two in the 4th-degree and two in the 2nd-degree.
The alleged touching occurred when Curtis was claiming to assist the girls with injuries, but turned criminal when Curtis touched, and in at least one case kissed the girls in "intimate" areas, prosecutor Tom Evans told 24 Hour News 8.
"That was clearly for purposes other than physical rehabilitative therapy," Evans said. "The victims are vulnerable, they're teenagers...it's very serious to us."
One of the girls involved in the investigation, but not listed as a victim, claims Curtis was often "flirty" with female students, her parents told 24 Hour News 8.
At one point Curtis helped her with a medical condition that raised the parents' concerns.
"It's concerning when I find that he's had his hands on my daughter," said the girl's father. "I assumed he was a trainer with the school. I didn't realize at that time that he was a volunteer."
The family of the girl involved in the investigation said that the victims have been taunted at the school. At least one of them was allegedly scolded by Curtis' wife.
Many in the community support Curtis and do not believe the allegations that have been made.
"I just think shame on people for blaming a victim for something like that when there's a grown person who should know better," the girl's mother said. "What is wrong with you that you're not trusting our youngest innocent people... I'm just ashamed to think people think that way."
Curtis' status as a former Major League Baseball star has an impact on the way the community is responding, the family said, but it won't on the way prosecutors handle the case.
"A lot of people of that type of that stature -- seems that they can get away with things like that," the girl's father said.
"I know that Mr. Curtis has done exceptional things in his life," Evans said. "And I know that many people admire some of his stances on issues. But we're not here for that. We're here because of what happened to the girls."
Curtis left the Barry County jail driving a black SUV with his wife in the passenger seat.
In a May 4 interview with 24 Hour News 8 he denied the allegations against him.
"I don't believe I touched any students inappropriately...I care about my community. I care about my students," Curtis said. "We got some stuff going on and I trust that things are gonna work out fine for all people involved."
Curtis' bond conditions bar him from having contact with minors other than his own children. He has a preliminary exam set for June 6.
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