ST. JOSEPH — The preliminary hearing for a former driving instructor and school bus driver accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl has been adjourned while lawyers gather more evidence.
Peter Fleck, 56, of Bridgman was a driving instructor at Mr. G’s Driving School in Three Oaks and a part-time bus driver for Lakeshore Public Schools for two years. He was immediately fired from both jobs when the accusations came to light. Fleck is charged with five counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He denies the allegations.
His preliminary hearing was to have been Tuesday, Dec. 31, in Berrien County Trial Court. But Judge Arthur Cotter agreed to adjourn the matter after Fleck’s lawyer, Tat Parish, said he does not have all the evidence he needs from the prosecutor to be able to effectively cross-examine a witness.
The judge ordered Berrien Assistant Prosecutor Cortney O’Malley-Septoski to turn over to Parish a copy of a recording of the alleged victim’s statements to police. Further, he ordered information from the defendant’s and the alleged victim’s cell phones to be downloaded by a forensic expert at the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office and provided to both lawyers.
Parish hinted there may be information showing evidence of a consensual relationship.
The new date for the preliminary hearing is Feb. 11. Fleck is free on a $25,000 bond pending the hearing.
Lakeshore Schools Superintendent Phil Freeman said earlier that the school district has been informed that Fleck’s alleged behavior did not include any interaction with a Lakeshore Public Schools student.