News & Views

Michigan Band Director Charged

Updated: March 06, 2012, 12:13


MI: A 29-year-old substitute band teacher in Sterling Heights and Warren high schools has been accused of illegally having sex with one female student, and electronically exchanging sexual images with her and two other female students.

Christopher Michael Skebo of Sterling Heights, who was dismissed from his teaching posts, was formally charged March 2 in two courts, 41A District Court in Sterling Heights and 37th District Court in Warren.

Skebo allegedly had sex with a 17-year-old student at his home Feb. 4, and exchanged explicit photographs and video with the students, a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old, from early January to early February, according to police. The case started when police learned of his alleged texts from a smartphone to a 17-year-old girl at Warren Woods Tower High School, where Skebo taught.

"He was sending inappropriate text messages - photos, video - to this young lady (in Warren)," said Detective Sgt. Stephen Mills of Warren police. "She expressed her reservations to a friend about the text messages, and the friend alerted school authorities who alerted authorities."

Once Utica Community Schools learned of the accusations against Skebo in Warren, they banned him from teaching at any school in the district, said Timothy McAvoy, UCS spokesman. UCS officials discovered from questioning students that he was involved with two Stevenson High School students, officials said.

"They talked with students who they knew were friendly with him or close to him," said Lt. Luke Riley of Sterling Heights police.

District officials on March 2 sent a letter to parents district-wide informing them of the allegations and Skebo's status.

UCS and many other school districts contract with Professional Educational Services Group, a national company, for its substitute teachers. A Michigan office of PESG released a statement March 2 that Skebo was "promptly placed on leave" upon learning of the investigation.

Skebo's attorney, Richard Marcil, said his client denies any criminal behavior and said he will vigorously contest the allegations; two of the girls represented to Skebo that they were over 18, Marcil said.

"We're going to fight these charges, especially the ones in Warren because we don't believe they will stand up to scrutiny," he said. "He's not the monster they're making him out to be."

He said Skebo, who resided with his parents and brother, is a highly talented musician.

Skebo was charged in Sterling Heights with one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of child sexually abusive activity, two counts of using a computer to commit a crime and two counts of tampering with evidence. A preliminary examination is set for March 14 in front of Judge Kimberly Wiegand.

The evidence-tampering charges are related to Skebo allegedly trying to erase or telling his accusers to erase text messages, Riley said.

In Warren, he faces charges of one count of child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to commit a crime and gross indecency between a male and female. He faces a March 15 preliminary examination in front of Judge Jennifer Faunce.

The most serious offenses are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

He remains held on a $150,000 cash or surety bond in Warren and a $50,000 cash or surety bond in Sterling Heights.

Skebo was in his second year of substitute teaching in UCS, which noted that Skebo underwent a background check that showed no criminal history.

By JAMESON COOK www.sourcenewspapers.com

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