Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 1, 2012

Breaking News: Former TC West teacher pleads guilty to sex charge

By ART BUKOWSKI, abukowski@record-eagle.com
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---- — By ART BUKOWSKI

abukowski@record-eagle.com

SUTTONS BAY-- A former teacher and coach accused of a sex crime involving a high school student pleaded guilty to a felony charge.

Lisa Placek pleaded guilty this morning to a single count of assault with intent to commit  sexual penetration, Leelanau County Prosecutor Joe Hubbell said. She could face up to 10 years in prison.

Hubbell hopes the deal will allow the victim to move on. Police said Placek had oral sex with a Traverse City West Senior High School sophomore boy in December.

"It substantiates what the victim said happened, so people know he's not just making things up," Hubbell said. "One reason for a plea is you get a person to say, 'Yes, I did it.'"

Placek was charged in January with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a possible penalty of life in prison. Hubbell believes the plea to the lesser count eliminates the risk of Placek being found not guilty at trial.

"We could go to trial, and it could be a he-said, she-said type of situation," he said.

Placek worked for Traverse City Area Public Schools as a volleyball coach since 1997 and as a teacher since 1999. She most recently served as varsity volleyball coach at West, where she also taught French and language arts. She was placed on leave on Jan. 20 and resigned from the district Jan. 24.

For more on this story, see Friday's Record-Eagle.