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Former Bethel Elementary School Principal Chris Carmichael Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges

Nov 6, 2020

Chris Carmichael worked as principal of Gladys Jung Elementary School until his arrest in December 2019.
Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

Former Gladys Jung Elementary School Principal Christopher Carmichael, arrested in December 2019 by FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, is pleading guilty to federal charges of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor. The plea agreement was entered into court record Nov. 6.

A federal grand jury had previously indicted Carmichael on three other charges, including a second count of attempted coercion of a minor, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor. Those three charges will be dropped in the plea deal. Court records stated that Carmichael pled guilty to knowingly attempting to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity.

In June 2019, Bethel Police received information that a 14-year-old girl claimed that Carmichael had sexually molested her. Police investigated by posing as that girl’s 13-year-old cousin and messaging Carmichael online. According to a police affidavit, the former principal sent sexually explicit messages and asked to meet up in Anchorage with what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, but was actually a member of the police. 

The maximum penalty for the charges Carmichael is pleading guilty to includes no less than 10 years and up to life in prison, and a fine of $250,000. He will also have to register as a sex offender.

The state has separately charged Carmichael for two counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Those charges are still moving their way through court, and Carmichael’s next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17, 2020.

Attorneys for four girls have also filed lawsuits against the Lower Kuskokwim School District, claiming that LKSD failed to protect them from sexual abuse at Carmichael’s hands. Jury trials for those lawsuits are scheduled for the fall of 2021.