Justin Donald Hobeck, 27, of the 15000 block of Harry Street, faces up to two years in prison if he is found guilty of the charge levied against him.
The alleged relationship took place in the fall of 2010 when the girl played in the band during her senior year of high school, said Lt. Mark Bennett, who heads the detective bureau for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.
Bennett said an investigation revealed that the relationship between Hobeck and the 2011 GHHS graduate continued for a short time that fall, then ceased.
“Most of it was a conversational relationship over a few months,” Bennett said. “There was, at one point, some sexual contact that happened off school grounds in Northwest Ottawa County.”
Hobeck is out on bond after being charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. On Wednesday, he waived his preliminary examination and was bound over to appear in Ottawa County Circuit Court.
He did not return phone messages seeking comment.
The investigation began in February after the girl confided in another student, who alerted the school district, Bennett said.
“Although we could not substantiate (the rumors) at the time, we were concerned enough to turn it over to the Sheriff’s Department,” Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said.
The district also immediately terminated its relationship with Hobeck.
Konarska emphasized that Hobeck was not a school employee, but that he was paid on a contractual basis when he worked with the band. He had been working with the band and drum line for about five years.
“Clearly we are deeply concerned,” Konarska said. “Student safety is our top priority.”
The charge Hobeck faces is a high-court misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to two years in prison, said Assistant Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney Greg Babbitt. A conviction on this charge also includes potential listing on the sexual offender list.
Bennett said that although the inappropriate behavior was not forced, it’s concerning because the two were acquainted through school.
“The issue was the relation,” he said.
“It’s because of their position in the school as a teacher … they violated that relationship in a sexual way,” Babbitt said.
Hobeck is a 2002 graduate of Grand Haven High School, where he also participated in band.