Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 9, 2014

Accused tutor had easy access to school in Traverse City

BY MATT TROUTMAN mtroutman@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A private voice tutor accused of having sexual contact with a Traverse City West Senior High School was a familiar face to students, teachers, parents and staff.

Jayme Jay Kratky, 33, of Traverse City, frequently held voice lessons in the school before his Dec. 13 arrest on a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. But Kratky’s name doesn’t show up on the school’s guest log, offering no clear picture of how often he walked its halls.

Traverse City Area Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cousins said Kratky went through the school’s music program and was “so well-known” among parents and teachers that he didn’t sign his name during visits, despite being a private instructor and not a paid employee.

“It won’t show up on the sheets because they weren’t following the policy,” Cousins said.

Kratky is scheduled for an 86th District Court court hearing today at 11 a.m. on a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. The preliminary exam originally was scheduled for Dec. 30, but Grand Traverse County prosecutors asked for additional time to investigate.

Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is a relatively new law that requires that a suspect used their position of authority “to gain access to or to establish a relationship” with a victim under the age of 18.

Police arrested Kratky after several female TC West students who hired him for private voice lessons told administrators he sent them inappropriate text and Facebook messages. A police report obtained by the Record-Eagle details a 16-year-old female pupil’s account of events leading to a sexual encounter at Kratky’s Wadsworth Street home during the summer.

The victim told detectives that Kratky’s inappropriate behavior started in the spring -- he sent her “so many texts she could not remember” and began kissing and touching her during voice lessons at his home. She said she felt forced into a sexual encounter.

“She stated she wasn’t afraid of him hurting her, but was afraid of what he could do but wasn’t sure what,” the report states. “She stated she didn’t know if he would make her feel bad about herself for not doing what he wanted.”

The police report states the pupil continued attending lessons with Kratky and said he never inappropriately touched her again, aside from one hug in the high school. But she said Kratky’s inappropriate texts and other messages continued.

The pupil eventually confronted Kratky after finding out he sent similar messages to other students. She joined them when they reported his behavior to school administrators. The police report lists seven additional witnesses of high school age.

The police report states Kratky admitted he had physical contact with the victim on three occasions.

“Kratky states that he is a sex addict and knew what he did with (the victim) was wrong,” the report states.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney and Kratky’s attorney Paul Jarboe didn’t return calls for comment.

TCAPS’ executive director for human resources Christine Davis said Kratky met with 21 students for lessons at TC West this school year. She said no additional students came forward since the allegations arose.

Cousins said administrators weren’t aware that school staff allowed Kratky to freely enter the school without signing in. He said having employees follow through on the school’s own procedures is important.

“We’ve corrected that since then,” Cousins said.

Davis said TCAPS’ administrators will run criminal background checks on other private voice instructors. That wouldn’t have stopped Kratky, though. Eighty-sixth District Court records indicate Kratky only faced an ordinance violation for not having proof of insurance before the students’ allegations.