Former Forest Lake middle school teacher found guilty of sexually assaulting students | #students | #parents

A former Forest Lake District middle school teacher has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two boys while they were students.

Jurors convicted James E. Carter, 58, Friday in Washington County District Court of second- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. Carter was acquitted of an additional second-degree criminal sexual conduct count.

In a joint statement, Assistant County attorneys Keshini Ratnayake and Kayla Wengronowitz said, “We are incredibly proud of these two individuals for having the courage to come forward. They did so to make sure that what happened to them would never happen to another student.”

Carter remains free on bond is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 16.

According to the criminal complaint:

Two boys, who were 16 and 17 years old when the charges were filed in August 2020, told the Sheriff’s Office that their middle school shop teacher had sexually assaulted them.

Carter paid his students and former students to complete work at his home and other properties he owned. He also provided them with gifts.

Carter befriended the first victim after the boy got into a fight at school and was given the option of doing community service work in Carter’s classroom. He hired the boy to complete home improvement projects at his house and then began attending church with him.

The abuse involved Carter molesting him on six occasions.

The first boy told his 17-year-old friend, who also did odd jobs for Carter, that the teacher had abused him. The second boy, who had met Carter while enrolled in his shop class, said Carter had also touched him sexually.

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