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Update: Former teacher and union president pleads not guilty to 61 counts

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, and where the indictment says some incidents occurred.

Updated Tuesday, July 11

Former Soldotna teacher and union president Nathan Erfurth was arraigned today, where he pleaded not guilty to 61 counts, including sexual abuse of a minor, exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography.

A grand jury handed down 74 charges late last month, although the indictment included some charges stricken by a judge, and some remained pending in the state’s online court reporting system. A new indictment, released yesterday, totals 61 charges.

The charges include sexual abuse of a minor in the second and fourth degrees, and possession of child pornography, related to photos shared by the alleged victim. The formerly pending charges are six counts of unlawful exploitation of a minor, a class B felony related to the production of film, audio or video content that depicts child pornography.

This afternoon, Erfurth appeared in person in the Kenai Courthouse, where his attorney entered a not guilty plea during a brief arraignment. Judge Jason Gist said Erfurth’s next court date is an omnibus hearing on Aug, 16, and the trial will begin the week of Sept. 5.

Original Story, July 5

A former Soldotna teacher arrested for sexual abuse of a minor has been newly indicted on 61 counts by a grand jury.

Nathan Erfurth was a Soldotna High School teacher and later, at the time of his arrest, president of the local teacher’s union. This spring, a former student told Soldotna police that the two had a sexual relationship while she was a minor. Police obtained a warrant to record a conversation between her and Erfurth, during which he acknowledged their sexual relationship, an affidavit says.

Erfurth was arrested on the basis of just two charges in May. But last Wednesday, June 28, a grand jury handed down the additional charges, which were filed in Kenai Superior Court.

The majority of those charges, 42 of them, are for sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, which involves sexual penetration of a 16 or 17-year-old by an adult who is at least three years older and holds a position of authority over them. The indictment says Erfurth and the alleged victim would meet up to have sex at her home, at a small house on Erfurth’s property and in his classroom at Soldotna High School.

Seven charges are for sexual abuse of a minor in the 4th degree, relating to sexual contact, rather than penetration. The grand jury handed down an additional six charges for possession of child pornography, which, according to the indictment are related to photos and videos of the alleged victim shared through the encrypted messaging app Signal and secure file storage service Mega.

Erfurth was released into house arrest and under the supervision of two third-party custodians in June. His next court appearance is a new arraignment scheduled for July 11 at 2:30 p.m. in Kenai.

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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