Crime & Courts

Southwest Alaska teacher arrested on charges alleging he sexually abused a student

A Southwest Alaska teacher is accused of sexually abusing one of his students, according to charges.

Troopers received a report on Saturday about sexual abuse involving 48-year-old John Hammonds, according to an affidavit signed by a trooper and filed Monday. Hammonds is a teacher at Akiachak School. The village is located along the Kuskokwim River northeast of Bethel.

Hammonds sexually assaulted the girl in August at his home, the affidavit said. And on the first day of school, he asked the girl to undress in his classroom while he was alone with her, the affidavit said.

Messages left for the Yupiit School District superintendent were not returned by Wednesday afternoon.

The Akiachak School has 213 students, according to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.

Hammonds has held teaching certificates in Alaska since 2014. He previously taught at Knik Elementary School in Wasilla and was a teacher in Nibley, Utah.

[Western Alaska school district that employed principal despite sex abuse complaints will pay $3.8 million to his victims]

He was reprimanded in 2017 by the Professional Teaching Practices Commission because he didn’t tell the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District that he was not rehired at a school in Utah where he taught for three years, according to the decision and order filed by the commission. A reprimand is the lowest form of sanction for misconduct, Director Melody Mann said.

Hammonds wasn’t rehired at the Utah school because he had been reprimanded by the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission in 2014, the Alaska decision said. It wasn’t immediately clear why Hammonds was reprimanded in Utah, but Alaska records show he was removed from an Alternative Route to Licensing program there.

Hammonds was convicted of felony assault in 2017, but because the crime did not involve children, it does not bar him from being a teacher, a spokesman for Alaska’s Department of Education and Early Development said.

Hammonds is facing eight charges of sexual abuse of a minor. Troopers said Tuesday that Hammonds had been arrested without incident and was being held at the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center. Anyone with information about the case is urged to call troopers at 907-543-2294 or submit tips on the AKtips smartphone app or online.

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