A Grand Ledge teacher accused of having sex with two students last year will stand trial. A judge ruled Monday there is enough evidence for the case against 32-year-old Jason Algra to move forward.
The teacher turned defendent took notes intently and rarely looked up, as his alleged victims testified during the preliminary hearing.
"He was really like a father figure to me as weird as that sounds," one said. "A lot of trust, a lot of respect."
The male students described how friendships and online messaging transitioned to sexual relationships.
"He started washing my back for me and then he turned around and asked if I was okay with it, if I was comfortable," the other victim said, describing sexual contact in the school showers.
The victim, then 17, testified of consensual sexual contact in the showers, a classroom, Algra's apartment and a parked car. He told the court he and Algra met for sex from April of 2011 to September of that same year.
According to prosecutors, when that relationship ended another began. This time, with a 15-year-old Algra coached.
"I think it's difficult for everyone to hear that this kind of activity is taking place with a teacher, that there was such a violation of that trust relationship," prosecutor Kelly Morton said.
That second alleged victim, says Algra made him feel loved, but also told him not to talk about the relationship. Prosecutors say the pair met for sex three times at the student's home.
Algra's attorney, Frank Reynolds, says his client denies the allegations.
"It's extremely stressful, it's very, very difficult," Reynolds said, of his client's emotional state. "But he's got a great family and they were here supporting him."
Reynolds says their focus now is crafting Algra's alibi. A difficult task, he says, considering the large window of time those allegations cover.
Algra is free on bond. He will be back in court for a status conference in mid-August.