This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.
A former Nikiski music teacher was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years incarceration for sexual abuse of a former student.
In 2014, Jeremy Anderson, a music teacher at Nikiski Middle/High School, was accused of sexual abuse of a minor and faced 16 charges of first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. At his sentencing hearing Tuesday, Judge Jennifer Wells sentenced Anderson to 30 years incarceration with 10 years suspended, and 15 years probation for sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, a class B felony in Alaska.
The victim, present at the court hearing, gave a statement before the sentencing. They said that as the victim, their voice has not been heard enough.
“Seven years ago, my mentor crossed the line,” they said during the hearing. “He turned what I thought was a healthy student-teacher relationship into my longest nightmare.”
The victim said Anderson worked to gain their trust throughout their eighth grade year, which escalated the following school year to months of sexual abuse occurring during the beginning months of 2014.
After the victim, the victim’s mother and the counsel made statements, Anderson addressed the public in his statement to the judge. Anderson apologized to the victim and their family, his own family, the community of Nikiski and the staff, students and parents he worked with at Nikiski Middle/High School.
“Saying the words ‘I’m sorry’ seems trite, but I don’t know what else to say to convey my remorse,” Anderson said at the hearing. “I was the adult — I was trusted and I failed. That was on me.”
When asked if she had any comments about the sentence, the victim’s mother said she was glad her child got to tell their story and that it was finally over.
Judge Wells said during the hearing that the crimes were “very cruel acts.”
“There are fewer people that children trust more than teachers, I suppose priests would fit in that category as well,” she said at the hearing. “So the damage inflicted by someone who is in a position of trust is just all the more cruel than if it were a different situation.”
The court recommended Anderson seek rehabilitation through sex offender treatment.
“The number one apology he can offer to the world is to make sure that he doesn’t hurt anybody else,” Wells said at the hearing.