TRAVERSE CITY —
Fred Muller and family had a hard time dealing with the news.
The Mullers are close with Lisa Gaye Placek and her family, and Placek coached Muller's daughter, 2010 Traverse City West Senior High School graduate Gaby Muller, in volleyball.
Now Placek, 45, a well-liked coach and teacher, faces a felony count of criminal sexual conduct after police said she had oral sex with a West sophomore boy. The charge left Fred Muller "100 percent surprised."
"Our first reaction was, 'This can't be,'" he said. "If you lined up 20 people in a room, and Lisa was one of them, you'd say, 'Certainly not her.'"
District Judge Thomas J. Phillips on Monday arraigned Placek on a single count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He denied bond, and she remains in the Leelanau County Jail pending a Feb. 10 preliminary examination.
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, Superintendent Steve Cousins said.
Police believe Placek had oral sex with a male student, 15, in her vehicle in Elmwood Township on Dec. 31, court documents show. Authorities won't provide details about what led to the encounter, or if Placek and the student had previous contact.
Cousins said the allegations leave a "deep wound."
"This is probably one of the most injurious experiences you can have as an educator," he said. "These allegations are just shocking, and for anyone who is a teacher or a coach, it just makes you sick."
The district received an anonymous tip late Jan. 19 and contacted police the next day. Placek and the student live in Grand Traverse County, but the Leelanau County Sheriff's Department handled the case because authorities said the incident occurred in Leelanau County.
Leelanau County Prosecutor Joe Hubbell said the first-degree charge is based on a combination of the reported sexual act, the victim's age and the teacher-student relationship. He wouldn't provide additional details.
Leelanau Sheriff Mike Oltersdorf said he was out of the office for much of the investigation and didn't know all of the details, but said the incident didn't appear to be a "forced physical act."
Several Traverse City West students on Monday said teachers didn't discuss the situation during school, but classmates talked about the topic.
Junior Nikki Hollis said she learned information from other people, not teachers who "don't want" students to talk about it.
"It's like a public thing. It affects everyone," she said.
Hollis said Placek taught one of her language arts classes during this school year's first trimester.
"That's why it's so surprising," Hollis said of the allegations.
TRAVERSE CITY —
Fred Muller and family had a hard time dealing with the news.
NMC president involved in non-public talks
A Northwestern Michigan College trustee kept the community college’s president in the loop amid a spate of non-public deliberations before trustees agreed to record their board meetings.Continued ...
NMC could adopt OMA, FOIA training
Northwestern Michigan College trustees could soon receive a crash-course in open government laws.Continued ...
Interim leader likely for TCAPS
Traverse City Area Public Schools likely will have an interim superintendent in place when Stephen Cousins retires as the district’s top administrator at the end of the school year.Continued ...
Suspect breaks into Toys 'R' Us
Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputies seek a suspect who broke into Toys “R” Us and stole electronics.Continued ...
Peninsula officials look to 'formalize' rules for large events
Those who hope to take advantage of Old Mission Peninsula’s vistas by holding sprawling events may have to plan well in advance.Continued ...
Pair stranded, rescued from island in Silver Lake
Two teens’ canoe trip through mushy ice on Silver Lake came to a soggy end after frigid water filled their craft and left them stranded on an island.Continued ...
Clearing the Record: 04/23/2014
Because of incorrect information provided to the Record-Eagle an April 14 story about a new Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department K-9 identified the dog, Nico, as the department’s first.Continued ...
- Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Two dead in separate Leelanau vehicle crashes
An Elmwood Township man's pickup truck rolled down his driveway and pinned him against another vehicle in Leelanau County's second vehicle-related fatality in three days, authorities said.Continued ...
Interim superintendent likely for TCAPS
TRAVERSE CITY -- Traverse City Area Public Schools likely will have an interim superintendent in place when Stephen Cousins retires as the district's top administrator at the end of the school year.Continued ...
City grants preliminary approval of rezoning
City commissioners declined to back down in the face of overwhelming neighborhood opposition and approved a rezoning request to allow one extra house on a West Front Street lot.Continued ...
28 area athletes finish 118th Boston Marathon
Rapid City's Kyle Kiel topped a list of 28 northwest lower Michigan runners who finished the 118th annual Boston Marathon on Monday.Continued ...
NMEAC awards set for Friday
Local environmental stewards will be recognized at the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council’s annual Environmentalist of the Year awards.Continued ...
Rotary Show marches on
There’s no telling what sacred cows will find themselves grazing in the sights of this year’s Rotary Show.Continued ...
Manton man dies in motorcycle crash
A Manton man died after his motorcycle crashed on Hobbs Highway near Arbutus Hill Road in East Bay Township.Continued ...
Benzonia Township man charged in overdose death
Authorities arrested a Benzonia Township man following a two-month investigation prompted by the drug overdose death of a Homestead Township man.Continued ...
Man hospitalized after jump
A homeless man was hospitalized after he jumped from the roof of the Flap Jack Shack and landed on a lower-level balcony.Continued ...
Clearing the Record: 04/22/2014
Because of a reporter's error, Traverse City Central soccer player Jennifer Rose was incorrectly identified in an April 18 sports story.Continued ...
- Monday, April 21, 2014
NMC officials: We didn't break law
Northwestern Michigan College officials said they did not violate state open meetings laws when they exchanged a series of emails before NMC trustees reversed course on a vexing policy question without public discussion or discourse.Continued ...
TC man's Mustang turns 50
Ed Mucha always drives slow as he passes the front of the Hagerty Insurance headquarters. It's a habit the long-time car guy and retired tool maker kept for years.Continued ...
S-E-X: How to talk the talk
Good news: “The Big Sex Talk” — that awkward conversation between kids and parents — is obsolete.Continued ...
Solving the world's problems in class
Traverse City West Senior High School students work to solve the world’s problems in Charles Rennie’s honors Model United Nations class.Continued ...
- Sunday, April 20, 2014
NMC board to address OMA allegations
Northwestern Michigan College trustees on Monday will discuss allegations they violated state open meetings laws. But they might do so behind closed doors.Continued ...
Local officials: Email no way to conduct public business
Local government officials expressed surprise and concern over a newspaper report that Northwestern Michigan College trustees may have violated state law when they used email and other non-public means to deliberate and decide a proposal to videotape their meetings.Continued ...
Mancelona's story similar, unique
This Antrim County community’s story mirrors those of many small towns. Industry boomed. Franchised stores shot up, mom-and-pops struggled to compete. Industry left, commerce sufferedContinued ...
Dems drum up opposition for Leelanau seats
Republicans dominated the Leelanau County ballot for years, but they’ll have some company this year.Continued ...
- NMC president involved in non-public talks