A 36-year-old music teacher has been accused of having sex, repeatedly, with one of his students.
Alaska State Troopers have been issued a warrant to arrest Jeremy T. Anderson, a teacher at Nikiski Middle-High School, on seven counts of first degree sexual abuse of a minor. If convicted, Anderson faces up to $500,000 in fines and 99 years in prison for each charge.
Anderson is accused of having a 15-year-old student perform oral sex on him and of having sex with her on at least seven occasions between February and May in 2014, according to a statement of charges filed in Kenai on Friday.
Anderson, who has been with the school district since August 2012, was investigated by state troopers for having inappropriate conversations with the same student 11 months after he began teaching in the district.
According to an affidavit filed by trooper investigator Jack LeBlanc, Anderson acknowledged at the time that he had been communicating with the student outside of school and that their conversations could “raise some concerns.”
The school district was aware of the previous allegations and investigation that took place, according to an email from Kenai Peninsula Borough spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff.
Erkeneff wrote in the email that the school district had a record of how long the student had been in Anderson’s class, but cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, as a reason for not being able to provide that information to the Clarion.
The student told another teacher, Jake Doth, that she had been having sex with Anderson and Doth told Nikiski Middle-High school principal Daniel Carstens who contacted the troopers, according to the affidavit.
Troopers arrived at the school about two hours later to investigate, according to the affidavit, but Anderson had already left.
When the schools went into lockdown mode Thursday, a woman had called them to report a suicidal man in Nikiski and troopers were investigating the two incidents separately.
Sometime before 4 p.m. Thursday 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 LeBlanc’s affidavit.
“It wasn’t until later that troopers realized that the two reports were about the same man,” wrote Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen in an email on Friday.
Anderson was not located until noon on Friday when troopers contacted him at Mile 15 of the Kenai Spur Highway — between Forrest Drive in Kenai and the Nikiski Fire Station. They called an ambulance because of his injuries, according to Ipsen’s email.
While the troopers have yet to confirm that the man they found Friday is the Jeremy T. Anderson listed in their warrant, trooper spokesperson Megan Peters said Saturday that they had contacted a man named Jeremy Anderson that day and had later applied for a warrant for a man with the same name.
Anderson has yet to be arrested on the charges and was last said to be recovering from life-threatening wounds, according to an email from Peters.
A person who answered the phone at Central Peninsula Hospital Saturday said it was against hospital policy to talk about patients.
Anderson has been placed on administrative leave, or paid suspension, by the school district, according to an email from Erkeneff.
According to district policy, the teacher can be suspended for a period necessary to investigate an issue that could be cause for dismissal. Any teacher, tenured or non-tenured can be dismissed at any time — regardless of having a contract with the district — for causes defined by the law, including immorality or substantial noncompliance with school laws, according to district policy.
Again citing FERPA, Erkeneff said she could not disclose whether the female student still attends school in Nikiski.
Erkeneff said the school district is trying to create a school culture where students feel safe talking to their administrators about their concerns.
“Specifically, at Nikiski Middle-High School, events last week prompted topics of suicide, safety, and sexual abuse to become prominent,” Erkeneff wrote in an email. “Extra school psychologists and counselors are in place at school, and supports are available to each student.”
Rashah McChesney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.