Grand Jury Will Look Into Handling of Sexual Abuse Reports
ANCHORAGE (AP) _ A grand jury will investigate whether officials mishandled a case involving alleged sexual relations between a high school teacher and a student, the attorney general said.
Attorney General Doug Baily said he hoped the grand jury would sort through the evidence and accusations, then issue a public report.
The grand jury is seen as a way of defusing a lawsuit filed by the school board against police and prosecutors for a series of raids on school buildings. The district maintains investigators exceeded the scope of their search warrants and invaded the privacy of students, teachers and administrators.
Baily said Thursday he wants the grand jury to clarify the duty of school officials in reporting sexual abuse. In addition, he said, he wants the grand jury to consider evidence of official misconduct by law enforcement or school officials and ″weigh if any charges are to be filed. I’m not expecting that at this point.″
Baily named Pat Doogan, chief assistant district attorney in Fairbanks, to lead the grand jury. Baily said he expects the Superior Court to grant his request for a grand jury.
School Board President William Frick said he was glad to hear of the grand jury, but not convinced Doogan would be independent enough.
″They are all members of the state prosecutor’s office. He may be asked to pass judgment on a fellow prosecutor,″ Frick said.
The case involves the alleged relationship between Gordon ″Satch″ Carlson and a 17-year-old girl.
Carlson taught English for 17 years until he resigned from Bartlett High School in August. The 44-year-old Carlson pleaded innocent to charges of sexually abusing a minor in his care.
The age of sexual consent in Alaska is 16, but prosecutors insist the age is 18 in situations where the adult is in a trust relationship with the minor.