Former Nikiski teacher faces several new charges in sexual abuse case

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Monday, November 24, 2014 10:23pm
  • News

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Jeremy Anderson is accused of sexual abuse of a minor, not assault. 

A former Nikiski Middle-High School music teacher faces several new counts of sexual abuse after accusations surfaced in May that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his female students.

Jeremy T. Anderson, 37, will be arraigned in Kenai Superior Court Tuesday. He is alleged to have abused a then 15-year-old minor several times over a six-month period than ended in May of 2014. Anderson faces 16 counts of sexual abuse in varying degrees.

The indictment documents an extensive timeline of the alleged physical encounters between Anderson, a married father, and the girl. Alaska State Troopers say those encounters began in late 2013 with Anderson fondling the girl in the school’s choir and band rooms, according to court documents.

The alleged incidents escalated and Anderson is charged with having sex with the girl repeatedly in 2014, until she told another teacher about the relationship, according to court documents.

The relationship between the two may have begun much earlier than what is indicated in the current charges.

Anderson was investigated 11 months after he arrived in the school district after troopers received reports on July 2, 2013 that he had been having “inappropriate conversations” with the same student, according to court documents.

He said at the time that he had been communicating with the victim outside of school and that their conversations could “raise some concerns,” according to an affidavit filed by trooper investigator Jack LeBlanc.

The school district was aware of the allegations and the investigation that took place, according to a May email from Kenai Peninsula Borough District spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff.

Anderson, who has been with the school district since Sept. 2012, was rehired in May of 2013 and again recommended for rehire in April of 2014, well after the original investigation into his behavior had begun and less than a month before the new charges were levied, according to KPBSD records.

Despite the allegations, Anderson continued as a music teacher at the combined middle school and high school and the girl was placed in one of his classes.

The school district has a record of how long the girl had been in Anderson’s class, however Erkeneff cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as a reason for not providing the information to the Clarion.

Anderson was placed on administrative leave, or paid suspension, by the school district after the allegations surfaced. Anderson is no longer employed by the district, according to an August email from Erkeneff.

The original investigation into inappropriate conversations between Anderson and the girl did not result in charges, however the Department of Public Safety in May denied a freedom of information act request, on the grounds that the case was still open.

The current charges stem from a May 8 call to troopers regarding suicidal male and allegations that Anderson had been sexually assaulting a female student.

The victim told another teacher that she had been having sex with Anderson and the incident was relayed to troopers who arrived at the school two hours later to investigate, according to court documents.

However, Anderson had already left.

Sometime in the late afternoon that day, Anderson called his wife and told her that he had slept with a student and would go to a place where no one could find him and commit suicide, according to a trooper affidavit.

The school was put in a precautionary lockdown mode, as was the nearby Nikiski North Star Elementary School. After a manhunt, Anderson was found by troopers the next day at Mile 15 of the Kenai Spur Highway.

It is unclear exactly what troopers found, but troopers called an ambulance because of his injuries. At the time, trooper spokesperson Megan Peters wrote in an email that Anderson was recovering from life-threatening wounds.

When he was released from the hospital, he was arrested by troopers and held without bail, pending arraignment. He was initially charged with seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

For the last several months, Anderson has appeared telephonically from Anchorage at hearings on his case in Kenai.

The new arraignment contains seven more charges of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and two charges of second-degree abuse of a minor.

First-degree sexual abuse of a minor is an unclassified felony. If Anderson is convicted, he faces up to $500,000 in fines and 99 years in prison for each charge. Second-degree sexual abuse of a minor carries a punishment of up to 99 years in prison, with a presumptive range of 5-15 years..

 

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

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