Jenison teacher on leave after sexual assault allegations

A yearbook photo of John Veldt.

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Jenison High School teacher has been placed on paid leave after a sexual abuse allegation was made by a former student.

A woman alerted authorities to an alleged incident involving 55-year-old John Veldt that occurred in the early to mid-1990s when he worked at Fremont High School. The woman, who is now in her 40s, told the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department about the alleged incident because she was concerned that Veldt was still teaching at Jenison High School.

The district immediately placed Veldt on leave while the investigation takes place. He has not been charged with any crime at this point in the investigation.

“The allegations are concerning,” Ottawa County Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Bennett told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday. “Some of them appear to be criminal based upon the accounts that we’re being told by the victims and survivors that have moved forward.”

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department has talked to at least six other alleged victims from the same time period at Fremont Public Schools. Authorities said no victims from Ottawa County or Jenison Public Schools have been identified at this point.

Bennett says he believes the major recent stories surrounding sexual abuse and assault have prompted more victims to come forward. He specifically cited the recent coverage of the Larry Nassar sex scandal where hundreds of women came forward alleging the same doctor had abused them.

“I think what kind of empowered them — or at least emboldened them a little bit was the events of like, Nassar and those other things that came forward,” Bennett said. “It’s a good thing that they’re coming forward, getting information out serving justice where it needs to be served.”

Veldt did not return calls from 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday evening but did respond via text.

“Sorry, I can’t talk right now,” the message read.