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Soldotna teacher, union president charged with sexual abuse of a minor

Soldotna High School, where Erfurth was a teacher at the time of the alleged abuse.
Riley Board
Soldotna High School, where Erfurth was a teacher at the time of the alleged abuse.

This article has been updated to include information from KPEA.

A Soldotna teacher and union president was arrested this weekend for sexual abuse of a minor. The incident, troopers said, occurred years ago while he was a high school teacher.

Nathan Erfurth was arrested Saturday and charged with second- and fourth-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Erfurth, 34, was a teacher at Soldotna High School, and for the last two years, president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, or KPEA.

Charging documents say a former student of Erfurth’s reported years of sexual abuse to the Soldotna Police Department in April. Investigators with Alaska State Troopers said she reported knowing Erfurth since ninth grade when they developed a personal relationship while she was a student at Soldotna Prep and he was her teacher. Their close relationship was investigated twice by Soldotna Police, in 2016 and 2017, but they brought no criminal charges.

According to troopers, the student said she and Erfurth continued to communicate with the app Signal, which allows messages to disappear after being read. She told troopers the two began a sexual relationship in 2017, while she was 17 years old, which continued for the next two years, usually at a small house on his property.

In April, troopers say, they obtained a warrant and recorded a conversation between the former student and Erfurth, during which she told him she had kept a journal documenting their encounters, and that her partner had found the journal and planned to bring it to the police. According to troopers, Erfurth expressed anger and frustration about this, and said it would lead to him spending years in jail.

Erfurth was arrested Saturday at his home without incident, according to a dispatch. His lawyer, Eric Derleth, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Clayton Holland, superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, said the district is aware of the charges. He said, “Student safety and welfare is the highest priority for the district. We are working closely with law enforcement in this investigation and are unable to provide further comment at this time.”

On Monday, the KPEA board of directors voted to remove Erfurth as president, effective immediately. Former Vice President Tamra Wear will serve as acting president until a special election is held.

Erfurth was arraigned Sunday morning, and his bail was set at $50,000. He’s charged with a felony for second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, and a misdemeanor for fourth-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

His first pretrial appearance is set for 4 p.m. May 31.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.
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