Grosse Ile teacher charged with assaulting 8th-grader

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A Grosse Ile Middle School teacher has been charged with assault against an eighth-grade student, according to police and court records.

Louis Groh Lafayette was arraigned Friday in Woodhaven’s 33rd District Court, where he received a $1,000 personal bond.

He stood mute to the charge and is due back in court June 22 before Judge Michael McNally, according to court records.

The teacher is accused of assaulting a male student May 9 at the school, located at 23270 East River Road, police said.

“I can’t get into what occurred because that’ll be part of the defense and of trying to prosecute,” Grosse Ile Township Police Chief Joseph Porcarelli said. “But he’s been charged with a township ordinance of assault and battery, which is a misdemeanor (with a) penalty up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.”

The legal definition of assault and battery involves “illegal touching” not sexual in nature, Porcarelli said. It could involve a push or a slap, though the chief declined to detail what was involved in the student’s allegation.

“The complaint was filed by the juvenile’s parent,” he added.

Lafayette is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of his case, according to the chief.

Grosse Ile Township Schools is conducting its investigation in conjunction with law enforcement, school officials said Tuesday.

“Mr. Lafayette has been charged with a crime, and law enforcement has not released the details of its investigation,” Superintendent Joanne Lelekatch said in a statement. “While the matter is proceeding through the criminal justice system, it would be reckless and inappropriate to speculate on any outcome or culpability.”

Lelekatch added that “in all cases the safety of our students is a paramount concern. If there is a finding or admission of culpability that we become aware of through this process or our investigation, we are fully prepared to handle the matter at the district level within the parameters of the state laws governing the employment of tenured teachers in a way that protects the safety of students at the district.”

An attorney listed for Lafayette was not available to comment Tuesday morning, nor was the prosecutor assigned to the case.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier

Detroit News Staff Writer Candice Williams contributed.