An Elementary School Repeatedly Dismissed Allegations Against Its Principal. Then, an FBI Agent Pretended to Be a 13-Year-Old Girl.
By: Lawless (ProPublica)
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This article was produced in partnership with the Anchorage Daily News, a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network, and KYUK, a public radio station based in Bethel, Alaska.
BETHEL, Alaska — For some parents, it was the gifts from the principal to young girls and their families that gave them pause. A few too many presents that cost a little too much money. Then began the late-night Facebook messages.
Through most of it, the principal of one of the largest elementary schools in rural Alaska remained on the job and in close contact with students. Then, in December, Gladys Jung Elementary Principal Christopher Carmichael was arrested by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force and later charged with possession of child pornography, attempted coercion of a child and sexual abuse of a minor.
In a state with a history of failing to protect children, and in a region with a sexual assault rate more than six times the national average, parents of girls are asking the same question: How was this allowed to happen?
An investigation by the Anchorage Daily News, KYUK public radio and ProPublica found that at least twice over the previous four years, parents had complained to police about Carmichael. In 2016, Carmichael admitted behavior to his supervisors that, under Alaska ethics laws for educators, could have cost him his teaching certificate.