By BLAKE THORNE AND JIM HAYDEN
The Holland Sentinel
Posted Apr 19, 2010 @ 05:11 PM
Last update Apr 19, 2010 @ 11:24 PM
Hamilton, MI — A Hamilton Community Schools teacher has been arraigned on a felony charge related to allegedly masturbating in school.
Daniel James DuPuis was arraigned Monday in Allegan County District Court on a charge of aggravated indecent exposure which carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison. Offenses are alleged to have happened between Jan. 1 and April.
DuPuis, 28, of Holland, who was teaching music at Hamilton Elementary and Hamilton Middle School, was arrested Friday. He has been released on a $5,000 bond.
In a letter sent to parents on Friday, school administrators said they learned of an incident Thursday and contacted police. School officials said DuPuis was suspended without pay and that the alleged activity involved no contact with students or other staff.
According to court records, the Michigan State Police was contacted by school administrators after a janitor found a tissue that “smelled like semen” in a wastebasket in a room at the middle school. DuPuis was interviewed by a state police trooper and the middle school principal Scott Smith.
On several other occasions, according to the record of a probable cause hearing held Friday, the janitor had noted suspicious items in the trash, including a pair of “panties.”
DuPuis admitted to masturbating five times in a locked office area with a glass door and a window with no shade but denied connection to the underwear, according to court records.
He reportedly said students did use the room to practice during lunch and that when the students left, he locked the door of the office and masturbated, with no students around.
DePuis has a wife and two small children and is a worship leader for Engedi Church in Holland, court testimony shows.
The church website lists him as worship director with a B.A. in music education from Hope College.
A call to Engedi Tuesday was not immediately returned.
Speaking before the arraignment Monday, Superintendent Scott Korpak emphasized that “there is no involvement of students ... no involvement of other staff members.”
The charge alleges that DuPuis made “an open or indecent exposure” of himself while fondling himself.
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