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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 06/11/14
Above, from left, Robert Yaek of Richmond and his attorney, Paul Stablein, speak with Judge Denis LeDuc at the 42-1 District Court in Romeo on June 6. Yaek, a former Armada Middle School science teacher, is entering a not-guilty plea for seven felonious charges related to alleged sexual relations he had with a 13-year-old female student. Three of the charges are first-degree criminal sexual conduct, each of which carry a life sentence. Police and prosecutors say Yaek reportedly had sexual encounters with the student between February and May of this year, some of which took place on school grounds. Yaek was given a $400,000 bond by LeDuc.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
Armada teacher pleads
not-guilty to sex charges
by CHRIS GRAYAn Armada Middle School teacher accused of having sexual relations with a 13-year-old student has pled not-guilty.
Observer Staff Writer
Robert Yaek, 25, of Richmond entered the plea at the 42-1 District Court in Romeo on June 6 for seven felonious charges related to alleged sexual misconduct and relations with a student.
Yaek is facing three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, each of which carries a life sentence. He is additionally charged with distributing sexually explicit matter to children, a two-year felony, two counts of using a computer to commit a crime, a four-year felony, and one count of possession of child sexually abusive material, a four-year felony.
Investigations began on May 13 when a whistle-blower alerted school administrators of the allegations. Superintendent Michael Musary said the district reacted swiftly by removing him from the classroom.
"He was a well-liked teacher, well-respected by the students and staff," he said. "The staff was shocked."
Following his removal, Yaek resigned from the Armada Area Schools on May 15. He was a staff member for three years.
"The allegations are very disturbing and we hope justice is served," Musary said.
Police and prosecutors say that Yaek, an eighth-grade science teacher, engaged in sexual encounters with a seventh-grade female student between February and May. The acts were said to take place in a closet adjacent to Yaek's classroom as well as at a rented house in Armada.
Yaek is also alleged to have sent explicit photos of himself to the student's cell phone.
"Parents entrust their children to the care of teachers," said Prosecutor Eric Smith. "We place our children's lives in their hands every day. This man's actions are an outrageous breach of that sacred trust."
Paul Stablein, Yaek's attorney, emphasized in court that Yaek had no prior trouble with the law and has been cooperative in the investigation. In light of this, he asked for a $50,000 cash or surety bond.
"They're serious allegations, I understand that, but I'm trying to demonstrate to the court that . . . there is no likelihood that Mr. Yaek is going to flee," Stablein said. "I am also trying to indicate he is not a danger to the community."
Armada Police Chief Howard Smith, said while Yaek has been cooperative, the extremity of the charges could make him a flight risk.
"I would be worried that Mr. Yaek may not appear for court," Smith said.
Smith said no other victims have come forward in the case, and to his knowledge there hasn't been any contact between Yaek and the victim or her family.
Judge Denis LeDuc slapped Yaek with a $400,000 cash or surety bond, saying the age of the alleged victim and the locations of where the relations took place played a role in the six-figure bond.
"I've got seven felony counts, three of which are criminal sexual conduct first degree," he said.
If bond was posted, Yaek would be prohibited from using electronic devices like computers or cell phones, contacting the victim and being on any school property. Yaek would also wear a GPS tether.
Yaek said little during his appearance except to waive his right to a expedient preliminary trial. Stablein said he wanted more time for discovery to analyze the evidence.
A preliminary exam conference was scheduled for the morning of June 18 to determine the status of discovery.
Following the arraignment, Stablein said he was disappointed with the large bond, saying he hopes it can be lowered in the future.
"It's clear that he is not a flight risk, he has never been in trouble before with the police for anything," he said. "Those are the classic circumstances where somebody should get a reasonable bond."
Yaek's family was in attendance at the arraignment, including his mother, an employee of Armada Area Schools. Stablein said Yaek has been devastated by the charges.
"We're going to do everything we can to get to the bottom of this and figure out what these allegations are based on," he said.
Yaek is being held at Macomb County Jail. He was living with his parents at the time the charges came forward.