A former middle school teacher accused of stabbing his wife and sexually assaulting a student for more than a year is facing up to life in prison after entering pleas to three felony charges.
James Philip Chelekis, 32, pleaded no contest to assault with intent to murder on Tuesday as his trial was set to begin in Michigan’s Kent County Circuit Court, MLive.com reported.
Chelekis, a former math teacher at Crestwood Middle School in Kentwood, initially told police on June 27 that he armed himself with a knife during an argument with his wife at their home in Wyoming, Mich.
Chelekis said his wife’s throat was cut during an ensuing struggle, but Amanda Chelekis told investigators that he tried to kill her. Police said she had defensive wounds to her hands that were consistent with being attacked, according to court records. Amanda Chelekis filed for divorce less than a month later, MLive reports.
Chelekis also pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old female student who investigators first learned of while probing the alleged stabbing, WZZM reports.
The teen told investigators she and Chelekis had a sexual relationship spanning 18 months, a claim backed up by photos and text messages, according to MLive.com.
A judge scheduled Chelekis’ sentencing for Jan. 23. He remains held in the Kent County Jail on $1.75 million bond, WZZM reports.
There’s no indication that Chelekis’ wife was aware of the relationship with the teen student, police said. Chekelis was placed on administrative leave from the school district after criminal charges were filed. He’s no longer working for the district after six years of employment, MLive reports.