A Mid-Michigan school district is coming together after a teacher admitted to sexually assaulting more than a dozen boys.
Kevin Schutte admitted to the assaults in an email to his coworkers. The email also listed the alleged victims, investigators said.
"Was his account hacked? Is this a joke? And after reading the first couple of sentences, this was no joke," Whittemore-Prescott Area Schools Superintendent Joe Perrera said.
Perrera knew one of his staff members was in trouble Sunday night when he received the email.
In that note, Schutte keystroked the words "I have decided to take my life."
"My first thought is to get emergency personnel there in time. Let's help him in any way, shape or form we can," Perrera said.
Perrera released a redacted version of Schutte's suicide note. In it, Schutte admits to sexually abusing 15 boys. He said many may not remember the abuse because it was a long time ago and that some may have slept through it or convinced themselves what occurred was consensual even though their participation was brought about by heavy coercion.
“This will probably be the most difficult week of your career,” Perrera told his staff.
Perrera said the mood is somewhat somber.
“But supportive you know. Again, we’re a school community. We’re a school family and we’re supporting each other,” Perrera said.
Investigators said none of the alleged crimes occurred in the Whittemore-Prescott district.
Schutte was in the middle of his first school year at Whittemore-Prescott. He took the music teacher and band director job in August.
Perrera said Schutte graduated from Central Michigan University last May with a degree in music. He said this was Schutte’s first teaching job and he was great at it.
“We had a band and choir concert in mid-December. It’s the first one in eight years. The place was packed three deep in the auditorium, standing room only. It was fantastic. It was wonderful,” Perrera said.
“Evidently the guy was doing a tremendous job. So it’s just sad,” said Bill Panigay, Prescott resident.
Panigay said everyone in the quiet area is shocked over what has happened.
“It makes it tough for the community,” Panigay said.
School officials said this incident will not change the way they do background checks.
“We followed our policies and procedures to a T. It’s worked for us in the past and it’ll work for us in the future,” Perrera said.
He said after Schutte was hired he was a model instructor and co-worker, living up to the glowing recommendations that preceded him. Perrera said the events that took place this week do not change what Schutte meant to the music program.
"From an instructional standpoint he was very good. Phenomenal. And that's how I choose to remember Kevin," Perrera said.
While authorities continue to determine if Schutte’s admissions in his final letter are true, one thing that’s for certain is something drove Schutte to the point of no return.
“He was wrestling with some demons. There’s no doubt about it. And I feel for him and his family,” Perrera said.