The trial for a former Nikiski teacher accused of sexual abuse involving a student is waiting to move forward pending a decision by the Alaska Court of Appeals.
Jeremy Anderson, 39, was a music teacher at Nikiski Middle-High School when he was accused in 2014 of sexual abuse of a minor. Anderson faces 16 charges of first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Originally out on bail with a third-party custodian, Anderson is back in custody while he awaits trial.
His trial cannot begin until the Alaska Court of Appeals makes a ruling on a claim of spousal immunity made by his wife. Alaska Court Rule 505 states that, under spousal immunity, husbands and wives can’t be forced to testify against each other without their consent.
On the day in May 2014 that troopers went to the school to investigate a report of sexual abuse of a minor, Anderson had called his wife “and stated that he had slept with a student and now he was going to a place that no one could find him and commit suicide,” according to an affidavit signed by Investigator Jack LeBlanc of the Alaska State Troopers. Anderson’s wife told troopers about the phone call when they contacted her after going to the school to investigate the sexual abuse report, according to the affidavit.
The case regarding spousal immunity was brought to the higher court to appeal a decision made on the matter by former Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman, who had the case before he retired this year. The Court of Appeals has yet to hand down a decision, as of a Wednesday trial call at the Kenai Courthouse.
Superior Court Judge Jennifer Wells, who now has the case, scheduled an omnibus hearing for May 22.
“I think setting it (the case) for trial calls is not quite right when we’ve still got this big open issue,” Wells said.
First-degree sexual abuse of a minor is an unclassified felony in Alaska, while second-degree sexual abuse of a minor is a class B felony.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.