A 46-year-old former middle school theater teacher who taught in a school district in Minnesota and is accused of sexually abusing students was arrested in Massachusetts. The former teacher also used to be an assistant professor of theater education at Emerson College in Boston.
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota said Jefferson Jerome Fietek, who was living in Malden, Massachusetts, was arrested by Malden police Friday. He will remain in custody until he is brought to Minnesota to face sexual assault charges in Minnesota.
In a news release, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said authorities received a report of sexual assault that occurred roughly nine years ago and allegedly involving a former staff member at the Anoka Middle School for Arts. The report was made on June 25.
A second report of sexual assault was then received. Investigators said they then identified two other alleged victims.
An investigation led to a criminal complaint being issued against Fietek charging him with several counts of criminal sexual conduct, the sheriff’s office said. Seven charges in total were filed.
A criminal complaint released by the sheriff’s office accuses the former teacher at the middle school of sexually assaulting four middle school boys between 2009 and 2019.
The alleged assaults occurred at the school, in the Anoka County area and Fietek’s home in Minnesota, records said. The boys were either 14 or 15 when the alleged abuse began.
Investigators claim in court records that the former teacher gained the students’ trust and sexually assaulted them. One of the former teens told investigators that Fietek had a lot of “Peter Pan” and “Muppets” memorabilia in his home.
Fietek met one alleged victim through a children’s theater group and another after the teen auditioned for a middle school play.
According to investigators, the former teacher who resigned in 2019, moved to Massachusetts the same year and kept in touch with one teen through text messages and Snapchat.
Fietek asked the teen to send nude pictures, but the teen eventually stopped after starting to realize “it was kind of weird for a grown man to be asking for a fifteen-year-old’s nude,” according to court records.
Fietek told that teen he bought him an airline ticket for him to fly out to Massachusetts, records said.
The Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 said in a statement to WCCO that school officials did investigate three complaints against Fietek while he worked in the district.
None of those investigations led to discipline, the school district said.
“I can confirm that if a complaint came forward regarding criminal sexual conduct the district would immediately report it to law enforcement and to the Minnesota Department of Education as required by law,” a spokesperson told WCCO in the statement.
“This is what happened when the district was alerted to information on a Facebook post on June 25.”
Emerson College told NBC10 that it cut ties with Fietek after hiring him last year.
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