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Fairbanks tutor accused of sexually assaulting student

Megan Edge

A Fairbanks man who works as an instructor and tutor at Hutchison High School has been charged with seven counts of first-degree sexual assault, according to court records.

Claude Fowlkes III, 34, is accused of sexually assaulting a student five times on school grounds since January. After the alleged sexual assaults, the student claims that Fowlkes gave him gift cards to the online retailer Amazon. When Fowlkes, who's worked at the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District eight years, was questioned by Alaska State Troopers, he denied the claims and said the gift cards were rewards for good grades.

Scott McCrea, a spokesperson for the school district, said Fowlkes is on paid administrative leave. He added that before becoming a tutor at Hutchison, Fowlkes worked at other Fairbanks schools, as a teacher aide at Tanana Middle School and briefly as a military student services tutor at Lathrop High School.

"Right now what we we're focused on as a district and over at the school is the safety and well being of the students," said McCrea. The district also has administrators and counselors on hand for students "disturbed" by the allegations.

Hutchison is a Fairbanks career and technical high school and the base for the district's Options Teen Parenting Program.