FREMONT, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman who says she was sexually assaulted by her teacher reported it to Fremont schools 20 years ago, but she wasn’t taken seriously until this year.
“It feels like it was a dirty little secret in this beautiful little town that I so adored,” the woman, now 41, said.
She is among eight women who have come forward claiming Jeff Moon and John Veldt sexually assaulted them as students in the 1990s. At the time, the men were teachers and basketball coaches at Fremont High School. Veldt now works at Jenison High Schools and is on administrative leave after the allegations arose. Moon resigned from his post at Fremont Public Schools at the end of February.
The woman, speaking only to 24 Hour News 8 Thursday in her first public interview, said Moon sexually assaulted her during the 1990 school year, when she was a freshman.
“I was a basketball player and whenever I did something wrong on the court, if I fouled or missed a free throw, he would look at me and tell me that I would have five-minute ‘tickle time,'” she said in a phone interview. “I did not know what ‘tickle time’ was until that day.”
She said Moon used her high school crush to lure her to his home.
“He picked me up at my house, drove me to his house, claiming he had to call this boy (her crush). And he tackled me and … he molested me against my will,” she said, pushing back tears. “He held me down while I fought him off of me, but I was 14 and he was a very fit man, so I didn’t win. “
She said some other victims claim that Moon and Veldt would ask them to babysit their kids to get them alone and sexually assault them.
In 1998, after learning other students had also been victims, she wrote to the Fremont school board saying Moon had acted inappropriately toward her.
The district says Moon denied the allegations and that was the end of it.
“I’m not sure why nothing was done back then. … I think because Mr. Moon was very well-known. He was a figure that people looked up to,” she said.
It wasn’t until this year, following the #MeToo movement and the Larry Nassar case, that the district began an investigation.
“By him resigning, it really shows and only validates his (Moon’s) guilt to me,” she said.
Moon was promoted to assistant principal at the middle school and then assistant principal at the high school after the district received the woman’s letter.
Fremont Public Schools Superintendent Ken Haggart, who took on the role in 2014, told 24 Hour News 8 he was not aware of that letter when he made Moon the assistant principal at the high school. He added that Moon had a clean personnel file.
The Newaygo County prosecutor is still deciding whether the men will be criminally charged.