BY MATT TROUTMAN
— TRAVERSE CITY — A private tutor who provided voice lessons to Traverse City West Senior High School students faces accusations he had sexual contact with at least one student.
Jayme Jay Kratky, 33, of Traverse City, is being held in Grand Traverse County's jail awaiting arraignment in 86th District Court on one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Authorities arrested Kratky today, just hours after Traverse City Area Public Schools officials reported the allegations.
Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said the charging document states Kratky had sex with a 16-year-old female Traverse City West Senior High School student during the summer. He said 16 is the age of consent in Michigan, but the Legislature recently added sex crime charges involving individuals who work in schools or with students.
"The difference here is it's a student and because there's the position of authority or trust," Cooney said.
Kratky did not work for the school district. He is a private tutor whom parents and students directly hired for voice lessons.
"They're not an employee of ours, but the students can hire the person to provide assistance to them," said Christine Davis, TCAPS' executive director for human resources. "They may do it off campus or may have them assist on campus."
Cooney said the charging document he authorized today only specifies Kratky is a paid voice instructor who gives lessons at West Senior High School and the alleged wrongdoing took place somewhere in Traverse City.
TCAPS board President Kelly Hall said she understood the suspect's wife is a teacher at Traverse City West Middle School. Hall declined to comment as to specific allegations.
"As with any allegation of criminal sexual conduct, it's disturbing, but they're allegations and I really have no comment because the district doesn't have direct involvement," Hall said.
Davis said TCAPS administrators became aware today of "allegations of inappropriate contact between someone in the community and possibly some of our students." She said parents of students who may have been involved were contacted.
TCAPS sent a message to parents late this afternoon, and alluded to an "issue" in the community that involved students, but didn't provide specifics. TCAPS Superintendent Steve Cousins said the district notified the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department and Traverse City Police when the allegations emerged this morning.
"Regardless of (the) fact this didn't happen in the school, we wanted to make sure the students are safe," he said.
Cooney said "it's always a possibility" investigation may lead to further charges.