Traverse City Record-Eagle

Region

February 28, 2012

Investigation of ex-teacher continues

No other potential victims located so far

TRAVERSE CITY — Police continue to investigate a former Traverse City West Senior High coach and teacher who faces a criminal sex charge, but they haven't located other potential victims.

Lisa Placek, 45, is charged with a felony count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct after police said she had oral sex with a West sophomore boy in December. She remains in jail without bond.

Sheriff's officials in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties continue to investigate Placek. Leelanau officials are involved because police said the December incident happened in Leelanau County's Elmwood Township.

"The investigation is not over ... we are still running down information regarding activity she may or may not have had," Grand Traverse Undersheriff Nate Alger said of investigators with both agencies.

Alger said authorities heard multiple allegations of misconduct with additional students in the wake of Placek's arrest. Authorities have "spoken with people about that type of information," Alger said, but haven't found evidence of additional crimes.

"To date, we have not identified any other victims," he said.

It's possible Placek and authorities could reach a deal on the charge from the December incident. Leelanau Prosecutor Joe Hubbell said a trial would put stress on the victim, as well as Placek's family and the victim's family.

"We've had discussions with the defense, and we're talking about a resolution short of having to go to trial," Hubbell said.

Placek's attorney, Patrick Heintz, of Traverse City, didn't return a call for comment.

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.

Authorities won't provide details about what led to the December incident. Police said it happened in Placek's vehicle on Dec. 31.

TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins said the district is working to move past the incident. He deferred comment on any additional investigation to police.

"For us, the focus has been on the kids," he said.

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