By Judy Reed
The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of former Cedar Springs High School teacher Jon Eric Jungkind, 46, on a charge of third degree criminal sexual conduct with a 17-year-old student.
They released their decision on June 24.
Jungkind, a popular teacher with students, was arrested in the fall of 2011, after the victim told police she had sexual intercourse on two separate occasions during the summer with Jungkind, who was her chemistry teacher. The incidents allegedly happened at his home in Nelson Township. The teen said that she became pregnant and that Jungkind bought her abortion pills to terminate the pregnancy, which she testified she took.
He denied having sex with her, but did admit to buying the abortion pills. He testified that he threw them away when she wouldn’t tell her parents about her pregnancy.
He was sentenced in December 2012 to 40 months to 15 years in prison.
Jungkind’s appeal argued that the trial court erred by allowing evidence regarding the student’s alleged pregnancy or alleged abortion, because the evidence was unfairly prejudicial.
However, The Michigan Court of Appeals felt the abortion evidence was relevant because it demonstrated that Jungkind believed she was pregnant and that it was likely that he was the one who got her pregnant.
“While the evidence also had a potential for prejudice, in light of the controversial nature of abortion, this did not substantially outweigh its probative value,” the court stated in its opinion released Wednesday, June 25.
The court also rejected Jungkind’s argument that he should have been able to look into when the victim took the abortion pill. He argues that she took it after being sexually active with another person. However, the trial court had referenced the rape-shield statute, noting that the victim’s sexual history was not relevant to the issue at trial.
Jungkind is serving time at the Pugsley Correctional Facility in Grand Traverse County. The earliest he could be released is March 2016, and the latest date would be November 2027.