Former Grand Ledge band student speaks out about former teacher's felony charge
"I still can't even believe something like this is happening," said Tyler Lorencen, former Grand Ledge High School band student.
Tyler Lorencen was a band student at Grand Ledge High School from 2009-2012. He told News 10 the charge against the former band director, Christopher Blackmer (47), is a complete curveball. Lorencen said that he never could have imagined something like this was possible from a teacher he once respected.
"Just flabbergasted and not being able to put into words at the time. And it just doesn't seem like this was anything he would've done," said Lorencen.
Tyler Lorencen played saxophone for four years at Grand Ledge High School. He had daily contact with former band director Christopher Blackmer, including band camp and during school musicals.
"He was always able to help you if you needed it. And he was there to talk to if you needed to talk to him," said Lorencen.
Blackmer was arrested Friday in Winter Park, Florida on child pornography charges. He was released on a $5,000 bond.
Florida police said they found a 39-minute video of him engaging in sexual acts with a male minor student around 16-17 years old.
They also said he sent nude pictures of a former Winter Park High School student to a current Winter Park student. If convicted in Florida, he could spend up to five years in prison.
"It's just like one of the most out there thing that I could've' thought that he could've done," said Lorencen.
Several parents, former Grand Ledge students, and even the district are stunned by the allegations.
"I saw it on Facebook, and my girlfriend was standing there and I was freaking out and she was trying to console me. I couldn't understand what had happened," said Lorencen.
Blackmer has put in 24 years of teaching, the last six of which were spent in Florida. Tyler told News 10 he questions if Blackmer's alleged abuse started in Florida.
"Definitely, and I haven't heard anything. But people have put the call out to have people feel like they can say what they need to say if they were affected him," said Lorencen.
State police have offered to help if Florida police turn up any evidence that Blackmer might've abused kids in Michigan.
The Eaton County Sheriff's Office told us it has not gotten any complaints about Blackmer's behavior while he worked at Grand Ledge.
The school district has no reports of misconduct either. During his 2008-2013 period at Grand Ledge schools, he was the band director at the high school. He also held the same position at Willow Ridge Elementary in Grand Ledge.