The trial for a former Nikiski teacher accused of sexual abuse of a minor may be pushed back again.
Jeremy Anderson, a former music teacher at Nikiski Middle-High School, was accused of the abuse in 2014 after troopers alleged he had sex and other sexual contact with a female student, who was 15 at the time, several times over the course of about six months. In all, he faces 14 charges of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and two charges of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
At a Wednesday trial call at the Kenai Courthouse, Defense Attorney Dina Cale said she will not be ready for trial until Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman rules on a motion for Anderson’s wife to assert spousal privilege, or immunity. Alaska Court Rule 505 states that, under spousal immunity, husbands and wives can’t be forced to testify against each other without their consent.
According to an affidavit signed by Trooper Investigator Jack LeBlanc, Anderson’s wife was called by troopers on the day in May 2014 that they went to investigate a report of sexual assault at the school. While talking to troopers, she told them “Anderson had called her and stated that he had slept with a student,” and that he was “going a place that no one could find him” to commit suicide, LeBlanc wrote in the affidavit.
“This matter makes a huge difference in my trial strategy and I would like the answer on it before we proceed,” Cale said at the hearing.
Attorney Andy Pevehouse, who filed the motion on behalf of Anderson’s wife, also filed a motion for a pretrial ruling on the matter, which the state has opposed, according to online court records. Pevehouse said on Wednesday that he filed a reply to the state’s opposition, but Bauman said it was not in the case file at the hearing. He set another trial call for Friday to have time to read the reply, and said he will make the ruling as soon as he can.
According to online court records, Pevehouse’s reply to the motion has been filed.
Cale added that due to a conflicting sentencing for another case, she might not be ready to go to trial as scheduled on Monday anyway.
Anderson, who was present at the hearing, has been living with his wife, who is his third-party custodian, out of custody since June 2015.
According to LeBlanc’s affidavit, the student Anderson is accused of sexually abusing told another teacher at the school she had been having sex with him. That teacher reported it to the school’s principal, who in turn called the troopers.
Anderson had been investigated in July 2013 for “having inappropriate conversations” with that same student, but was not charged with anything, according to the affidavit.
First-degree sexual abuse of a minor is an unclassified felony in Alaska, for which Anderson could face up to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for each count he faces. 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.
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