Crime & Courts

Former Mat-Su substitute teacher arrested on charges of sex abuse of minor

A former substitute teacher with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District was arrested Thursday on charges alleging he sexually abused children.

Scott Pezzini, 31, worked as a substitute teacher for the district from October 2020 until December 2022, spokeswoman Jillian Morrissey said. He is no longer employed with the district, Morrissey said, but she declined to provide additional information about what she called a personnel matter.

Alaska State Troopers said they were notified Dec. 26 about an incident of sexual abuse involving a child. According to a grand jury indictment filed Thursday in Palmer Superior Court, Pezzini sexually abused two children who were both under age 10 on Dec. 15 at or near Wasilla.

Pezzini did not come into contact with the children through his position at the school and the abuse did not occur on school grounds, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.

Pezzini was remanded Thursday to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor and one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

Troopers said they believe there may be more victims and asked anyone with information to call them at 907-352-5401. A spokesman for the agency said he could not provide additional information, including why investigators believe there could be more victims, “due to the active nature of the investigation.”

Pezzini worked at the Mat-Su YMCA last year for about four months as a swim instructor, said Larry Parker, CEO of YMCA of Alaska. The branch discontinued the swim program in June and Pezzini was then no longer employed with the YMCA, Parker said.

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There were no reports made about Pezzini during his time working as an instructor, Parker said, and the organization had completed a background check on him before he was hired. Concerned parents have already reached out to the organization, he said, and officials plan to follow up with them.

“This is obviously concerning, even though we don’t have any indication that it happened at the Y or anything like that,” Parker said. “We still just have to be diligent, do everything we can do to make sure kids in our programs are protected.”

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, focusing on breaking news. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota and previously helped cover the Nebraska Legislature for The Associated Press. Contact her at twilliams@adn.com.

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