Grand Ledge Teacher Will Face Trial For Sex with Students

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

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.

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  • by George Location: Florida on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM
    It's all the teachers fault huh ? These people knew what this was about even tho they were teenagers. Young people are not ashamed anymore. They just go ahead and do it, whatever it is. Then they want to get some one in trouble with it. They want everybody to say, poor you. If teenagers can be charged as a adult for crimes, then they should take some of the responsibility for having sex with the teacher. They know this is wrong.
    • reply
      by Jake on Jul 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM in reply to George
      No, these students should be punished for LYING, their is no truth behind these allegations! they recanted their story before, and now their stories keep changing, why don't they finally tell the truth and let this man get on with his life!
  • by David on Jul 24, 2012 at 06:20 PM
    RIGHT ON JAKE!!! This is the same story I have heard from SEVERAL Grand Ledge kids! This student had feelings for this man, he was turned away and felt betrayed so how does he get his revenge? Ruining this mans life. Kids today have no sense of consequence or reality, they just do whatever they want without thinking of the consequences, I don't buy that it's hard for them to get and tell their stories (or in this case lies) they are made out to be "victims" and are loving all the attention they are getting. It's just too bad nothing legally will happen to them when this is all said and done and this teacher is found not guilty!
  • by Jake Location: Grand Ledge on Jul 24, 2012 at 04:02 PM
    Hypothetical scenario: say you are friends with one of the “victims”. They tell you about this great teacher and mentor of theirs. They come out to the teacher as gay because they have heard rumors that the teacher is gay and are looking for some acceptance and understanding. The teacher listens and tells the student that it’s okay. Your friend then tells you that he has feeling for this teacher, but when the student expresses these to the teacher, the teacher lets it be known that a relationship will never happen. The relationship is strictly student/teacher or mentor/friend. The student becomes bitter over the situation and starts telling other students that the two had a relationship and before you know it, things get out of control and an ugly rumor is presented as a warped truth. The teacher is put on leave and their career, reputation, and freedom (the man is facing life in prison) is on the line. And the “victim” is too embarrassed to come forward and admit that it’s all a fabrication (evidently the story had changed 2 or 3 times as well). This is the story that’s floating around Grand Ledge, seems completely plausible to me!
  • by Sue on Jul 24, 2012 at 02:40 PM
    Shame on WILX for the title of this story, he's going on trial for ACCUSATIONS, nothing has been proven!!!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 24, 2012 at 11:02 AM
    These 2 kids are so deep into their lies they wouldn't know the truth if it slapped them across the face. Ask anyone who knows them, they are known liars who crave attention
  • by David on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:17 AM
    Where's the proof? If these kids are saying they have text messages and pictures that this man sent them why weren't they presented at yesterday's hearing? All that was presented were statements which is just their word against his!
    • reply
      by Skippy on Jul 24, 2012 at 03:35 PM in reply to David
      Exactly David! If the case is so cut and dry and the accusers have all this evidence, where is it? Once something goes on the internet, it’s there forever, and there should be tons of evidence in the form of text, pictures, facebook messages, ect. Nothing was presented because it doesn’t exist. And judging from the fact Mr. Algra is claiming his innocence; it seems to come down to his word against his accusers meaning the case will go to trial. People need to remember that a person is still innocent until proven guilty in this country. Let the evidence and facts present themselves in court. Mr. Algra seemed like a very busy person from what I’ve read. He had roommates at the time and was active with other coaches, meaning he didn’t have a lot of alone or free time. I would be very difficult to carry out relations like this with so many people around especially at his home multiple times a week and not have anyone question it before the allegations came out! The facts just don’t seem to pan out right and something is definitely off on this case!!
    • reply
      by Student on Aug 7, 2012 at 07:05 PM in reply to David
      You obviously do not understand the court system. They do not show evidence at a preliminary trial, that is simply just the victims being questioned by both lawyers. No evidence. The defendant does not speak. It is just the victims talking and then the judge decides if there is enough evidence to take it to further, if so they move it forward to the trial. My assumption is that because you did not understand that, you have not been through any type of similar situation, which means you have no room to talk. He isn't innocent or guilty, but in case it is not obvious to you, he's probably guilty.
      • reply
        by Jake on Aug 8, 2012 at 07:09 PM in reply to Student
        Wow you obviously do NOT know how these things work, The evidence IS presented, how else does the judge decide if there is enough evidence, I know this man and I have followed this closely. I also know these 2 students and know that this is not the first time either of them have been caught in a lie.
      • reply
        by David on Aug 9, 2012 at 04:35 AM in reply to Student
        It's called the right to know law, all evidence has to be shown to the defense prior to the trial
  • by Erin on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM
    How does that make any sense? Just because it's in the media doesn't mean anything. I understand that it would be hard for victims to talk about what happened but who's to say that these kids are actually victim I don't put it past anyone including kids to make up stories kids today have no sense of reality or no sense of consequence. Before we send out a lynch mob to Rob this man of his freedom his integrity and his character why don't we wait until all the facts are presented you're only hearing one side of the story
  • by Cassandra Location: Lansing on Jul 24, 2012 at 08:07 AM
    Don't be so quick to call these students liars. It's usually difficult for people who have been sexually taken advantaged of, to tell anyone about the things that have happened to I would assume it's even harder for young people to tell someone. Teachers need to know boundaries and stick to them, just from the posts that I've read from his former students...he seemed to place himself in positions where he shouldn't have. Poor judgement.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 24, 2012 at 08:52 AM in reply to Cassandra
      Are you saying that being a mentor or someone for a student to look up to is putting oneself in a bad situation? If I went to a school where I couldn't have a teacher there for me to talk to when I'm having bad days I would leave immediately!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 24, 2012 at 07:11 AM
    If its in the media, he must be GUILTY
  • by B on Jul 24, 2012 at 04:46 AM
    That doesn't mean anything Olivia, don't turn your back on people until you know the whole story
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