Macomb Co. band director arraigned on inappropriate conduct

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Sterling Heights — A high school band director was arraigned Thursday on his first set of charges including inappropriate sexual interactions with a student, officials said.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said his office has charged Christoper Traskal, 42, of Sterling Heights, in two cases.

Christopher Traskal.

In the first one, the former Utica Community Schools director has been charged with one count of child sexual abusive activity, a 20-year felony, and using a computer to commit a crime, also a 20-year felony. The crime happened in Shelby Township, prosecutors said.

He was arraigned in 41-A Shelby Court Thursday and his probable cause conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 27. His bond was set at $50,000. 

Traskal will return to court Friday for another arraignment. In the other case, he has been charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, each a two-year felony. The crime allegedly happened in Sterling Heights.

Smith said Traskal is accused of sending emails of a sexual and inappropriate nature to a student in Shelby Township over a period of several months. He also allegedly had in-school conversations and interactions with the student that were inappropriate.

In addition, Traskal is accused of engaging in inappropriate interactions with a former student in Sterling Heights who was in middle school at the time. Smith said the band director took the student to his home, tried to provide alcohol to her and then sexually assaulted her in 2011.

Smith said Traskal worked for Utica Community Schools for 18 years.

Macomb County Sheriff deputies took their first report regarding the former Eisenhower High School teacher in October, which stated that he was sending sexually inappropriate emails to a student.

Macomb Area Computer Enforcement detectives executed search warrants on multiple electronic devices and found several emails where the teacher solicited the 17-year-old female, the Sheriff's office said.

During their investigation, a second female came forward in November and reported that she was a former student of the same teacher in 2009. The former student provided police with documentation and stated that he had touched her inappropriately on two occasions.

Both students told officers they had difficulty coming forward because of his status with the school.

Sheriff Anthony Wickersham encourages parents to teach their children to speak up when there's suspicious behavior. 

"This behavior can be inappropriate comments to something more serious such as unwanted touching," Wickersham said in a statement. "We want to stress that parents sit down with their children and not only talk about their day but the people that they come into contact with as well. Discuss the different trusted adults they can confide in which may include parents, a friend’s parents, school counselors and resource officers, and tip lines such as OK2Say, etc."

The allegations against Traskal are the second involving an Eisenhower staff member to be reported this month. 

Ninth-grade girls basketball coach Dave Willman was fired from his coaching position for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to players, Eisenhower Principal Jared McEvoy said in a letter to school parents last week.

Willman has not been charged but an investigation is ongoing, according to the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_