The first of two lawsuits against the Lower Kuskokwim School District for its role in alleged sexual abuse of minors is scheduled for trial in the fall of 2021.
In December 2019, former Bethel Elementary School Principal Chris Carmichael was arrested, and later charged with sexual abuse of a minor. Since then, four of Carmichael’s former students have filed lawsuits against the Lower Kuskokwim School District for failing to protect them from sexual abuse by Carmichael. The jury trial for the first of those lawsuits has been scheduled for October 2021.
The lawsuit claims that LKSD failed to “appropriately and reasonably act and follow up on prior complaints” about Carmichael. Twice in the four years leading up to his arrest, law enforcement investigated the former principal for alleged inappropriate behavior with children. Both times, law enforcement informed LKSD of the investigations.
Attorneys for the two girls in Bethel claim that Carmichael sexually assaulted them between 2015 and 2018. The school district has responded to the claims in court, denying that sexual abuse occurred in those cases. It is unclear if the girls represented in the lawsuit are the same victims cited in Carmichael’s criminal charges.
As of April 24, Carmichael had been released from jail to a transitional living facility. The conditions of his release require him to be under house arrest with an electronic monitoring device.