TRAVERSE CITY — A private voice instructor’s sex crime trial is on hold until state appellate judges decide whether his charge aligns with a state law that bans educators from having sexual encounters with students.
Jayme Jay Kratky, 33, of Traverse City, recently pleaded not guilty to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct prior to his trial scheduled for April 8 in 13th Circuit Court. An appellate court review potentially could take months or longer to complete.
Authorities said Kratky admitted to having sex with a Traverse City West High School girl, 16, one of several students he regularly tutored at the school and his home. He’s charged under a law that forbids certain individuals who work in schools from using their position to establish a relationship with a student.
Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers during a court hearing last week denied Kratky’s attorney Paul Jarboe’s motion to dismiss the case, but he also halted trial proceedings.
That gives the Michigan Court of Appeals a chance to review Jarboe’s assertion the charge doesn’t apply to Kratky.
“I don’t think there’s any surprise this is going to the Court of Appeals,” Jarboe said.
Grand Traverse County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said the case could be delayed for a year as the appellate judges review how or if the relatively new statute applies to Kratky.
“The bad part from the victim’s and defendant’s perspective is it means there’s no closure,” she said.
The student is old enough to engage in consensual sex, but Kratky’s charge applies to defendants who use their employment, contractual, or volunteer relationship with a school to gain access to a student victim under the age of 18.
Eighty-sixth District Court Judge Thomas Phillips in a January preliminary examination found Kratky’s relationship with the school could fall under all those conditions.