Editor’s note: This story has been updated. Read the latest here.
A Bethel elementary school principal was arrested Tuesday night by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, Bethel Police Department and Alaska State Troopers, an FBI spokesman said.
Formal charges against principal Christopher Carmichael of Gladys Jung Elementary School will be filed Wednesday or Thursday, according to Steve Forrest of the FBI. He has been with the Lower Kuskokwim School District for 19 years. Officials did not immediately provide details about the charges or Carmichael’s arrest.
Lower Kuskokwim School District Superintendent Daniel Walker said staff were in “a bit of shock” as news of Carmichael’s arrest broke. Walker said he did not have any details about the arrest and was initially unaware the investigation was headed by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force.
“As we get more information about the charges, we will be better equipped to react to it,” he said.
The district will launch its own investigation into Carmichael, Walker said. The principal was taken into custody Tuesday night and Walker said he is currently on leave without pay.
“We have to go through our own due process procedures here,” Walker said.
Carmichael joined the district in 2000, Walker said. He was a teacher in Quinhagak for several years before he became principal at Goodnews Bay. Carmichael has been a principal at the Gladys Jung Elementary School since 2014.
The Bethel school has about 330 students ranging from third to sixth grade, Walker said.
Additional social workers and school counselors will be available, the district said in a statement released on Facebook.
“The District is actively and fully cooperating with law enforcement during the course of the investigation," the statement said.