Teacher in Alaska village accused of sexual abuse of student

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A teacher in the western Alaska village of Kwigillingok is accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old female student.

Michael J. Wier is charged with felony sexual abuse of a minor. He was arrested Thursday and is being held in Bethel, 77 miles southeast of the Yup'ik Eskimo community of about 365 people.

Alaska State Troopers said the Bethel Office of Children's Services reported April 21 that a teenage resident of the village was being sexually abused or had been sexually abused by a teacher.

The criminal complaint says another teacher had become concerned because the girl had been seen lingering around Wier for a couple months.

The concerned teacher said he walked into Wier's classroom one evening in mid-March and believed Wier had been having sex because he was shirtless, out of breath and did not come out from behind his desk, according to the court document. The teacher did not see anyone else in the room.

The girl was later interviewed at the Bethel Child Advocacy Center, where she was reluctant to talk about the teacher, but did say the two had sex in the classroom, trooper Joshua Trigg wrote in the court document.

Online court records don't show an attorney listed for Wier, who is being held on $50,000 bail.

Trigg wrote that Wier declined to participate in an interview, saying he was not willing to answer questions without an attorney representing him.

Lower Kuskokwim School District superintendent Dan Walker said Wier taught at the village for seven years. He declined to discuss specifics of the case or to say if there had been any complaints about Wier in the past.

Walker said Wier was placed on administrative leave when the district became aware of the matter two weeks ago. He also said district employees are trained to report suspicious cases of child abuse or neglect.

"And in this case, it worked," Walker said.

Wier has never been sanctioned by the state Professional Teaching Practices Commission, according to the panel's executive director Jim Seitz.


Follow Rachel D'Oro at https://twitter.com/rdoro

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