Teacher charged in stabbing accused of sex misconduct with student

James Chelekis's mug shot on June 27, 2017.

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kentwood Public Schools teacher, accused of stabbing his wife at their Wyoming home this week, is now charged criminal sexual conduct involving a student.

Crestwood Middle School math teacher James Chelekis was formally charged Friday morning with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

It’s connected to an alleged sexual relationship with a female student who is now 15.

Police said they became aware of the alleged sexual relationship while investigating the stabbing. The student told officers they had been in a sexual relationship for about 1.5 years.

“We don’t have any indication that there are any other victims that are out there,” said Lieutenant Mark Easterly of the Wyoming Public Safety Department. “I want to appeal that if people do know anything about this case or there are other victims out there, to either give us a call or their local law enforcement agency.”

Superintendent Michael Zoerhoff said in a statement Friday that Chelekis is on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved. In deeply distressing situations such as this, Kentwood Public Schools is committed to providing support and care for those affected by this case. Our first priority remains the well-being of our students and their families,” Zoerhoff stated in a Friday news release.

Kentwood Public Schools said Wyoming Department of Public Safety is handling the case and the district will not be making further statements at this time.

“This type of event is difficult to comprehend; but we are unwavering in our commitment to excellence in learning and safety in our schools,” Zoerhoff stated. “Staff members who violate the trust of our community or who engage in behaviors outside of the values and policies of our district will be held accountable for their actions.”

Chelekis is accused of stabbing his wife with a blade of more than 3 inches during a dispute just before 6 a.m. Tuesday. She was taken to the hospital, where she underwent surgery. Her condition was stable as of Thursday.

A second probable cause document filed in court says Chelekis confessed to grabbing the knife during an argument with his wife, Amanda Chelekis. He said the knife cut her neck “from one side to another” when they “fell” during the struggle, the document stated.

However, Amanda Chelekis said her husband intentionally tried to kill her, according to court documents. Investigators said the wounds to Amanda Chelekis’ hands were consistent with her trying to fight off an attack.

Police say the couple’s two children were home during the incident, but were not injured or aware of what was happening.

Investigators said there is no indication Amanda Chelekis was aware of her husband’s alleged relationship with the student, and there are no previous reports of violent incidents at the couple’s home.

Lt. Easterly said this incidents reminds parents to be attentive to who their children are communicating with.

“Nothing against this victim’s parents or anything else like that, but Mr. Chelekis was able to manipulate through those safeguards that we kind of have in place,” Easterly said.

James Chelekis was formally charged Thursday with assault with intent to murder and carrying a weapon with unlawful intent in connection to the alleged attack. A judge kept his bond at $1 million, saying he was a “flight risk” because he was charged with a felony that carries a sentence of up to life in prison, if convicted.

His bond now for both cases is $1.75 million, police say.

James Chelekis is expected back in court on July 12 for a probable cause hearing in connection to the June 27 incident.

His defense attorney declined to comment.