Soldotna former teachers’ union president challenges State’s evidence involving sexual abuse of minor

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Nathan Erfurth, a former teacher at Soldotna High School and president of the local teachers union, was in court last week for another evidentiary hearing involving the five counts against him for alleged sexual abuse of a minor over whom he had authority.

The hearing surrounding the interpretation of recorded conversations that may be pivotal to the case. Erurth has pleaded not guilty after his arrest in April of 2023, for crimes associated with having a sexual relationship with a former student who was a minor. His attorney says that the transcript of a phone call between Erfurth and the girl is inaccurate and misrepresents what was said in the conversation, which was played for a grand jury last year.

During the recent hearing at the Kenai Courthouse, Derleth played audio clips from the recordings for the judge last week in the Kenai courthouse, aiming to demonstrate inconsistencies between the state’s interpretation and what they contend to be the actual dialogue.

At one place in the recording, where the former student allegedly asked Erfurth if he regretted “sleeping with her,” the defense attorney said the actual words were if Erfurth regretted “taking her in,” which might have another meaning. The audio recording was of poor quality. Erfurth contends he was answering a different question than that which the district attorney says he was answering.

Assistant District Attorney Julie Matucheski maintained that the state’s transcripts are accurate and said Erfurth is merely concocting an interpretation that would possibly exonerate him.

The trial was set to begin on April 15, but the defense and prosecution will now submit more statements to the judge over the coming weeks, and the judge, Kelly Lawson, will likely address the challenges to the evidence before the next trial date in June.

Erfurth was a political advocate for more funding in education, testifying in front of the Senate Education Committee in 2023 in favor of raising the base student allocation — the permanent funding formula — for Alaska school districts. In a March commentary published in the Kenai Peninsula Clarion, he wrote, “Public education funding is an investment in our schools, students, businesses and local economy. Now is the time for the Alaska Legislature to pass a meaningful increase to the base student allocation.”

In January, Erfurth sought to have the grand jury indictment thrown out, saying that over the course of several recorded hours of conversation between him and the alleged victim, he never admitted he had had sex with her. He faces 42 counts in the case.

The original Alaska State Troopers public report stated: “On April 3, 2023, the Alaska State Troopers received a report that 34-year-old Soldotna resident Nathaniel E. Erfurth had sexually abused a minor over multiple years. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation’s Soldotna Major Crimes Unit launched a thorough investigation into the allegations. Investigators determined that while Erfurth was employed as a high school teacher in the Soldotna area, he had sexually abused a female juvenile multiple times between 2017 and 2019. For approximately the past two years, Nathaniel has been on full-time release from teaching while serving as the Kenai Peninsula Education Association (KPEA) president. On May 20, 2023, Investigators arrested Erfurth without incident, and he was remanded to Wildwood Pretrial Facility on one count of Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the Second Degree and one count of Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the Fourth Degree. Investigators did not find evidence that Erfurth sexually abused any other minors.”

30 COMMENTS

  1. Erfurth was arrested in May 2023, nearly a year ago. A former history teacher in Soldotna, at the time of the arrest he was “on full time release from teaching” and spent his time as a union official for the KPEA while being paid by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD). At sometime in 2023, he was removed from his job at the KPEA.

    Can anyone please tell me if Erfurth is still on the public payroll either as a KPEA or KPBSD employee on leave with pay or if he is receiving union benefits? Of course, the ADN hasn’t touched the story since May of last year and provided no details about his status as a KPBSD employee.

    • He is not on their staff list, Pete, but I haven’t been able to dig down into the payroll. – sd

    • Pete–According to the KPEA CBA, he was not being paid by the District while he was president and on leave from teaching as you claim. Page 45 of the CBA states that the Association (KPEA) pays the president’s salary, not the District. ‘https://kpbsd.org/wp-content/uploads/departments/human-resources/collective-bargaining-agreements/KPEA-CBA-FY22-24.pdf

      • Thank you for that correction.

        Do you know if KPEA retained him after his arrest? Given that so far, all we have are allegations of misconduct without a trial or conviction, is he still being paid by KPEA?

  2. Does he have the right to contest the evidence? Certainly.

    But it’s another classic example of why people have lost faith in a failed, union run education cabal.

    • Just as people are losing faith in the Church because of a few very bad actors. Churches and schools provide immensely important services and the vast majority of people employed by churches and schools are truly in it for the betterment of people around them, but not all for sure. It’s sad.

      This guy deserves a fair day in court and he is innocent until proven guilty.

  3. ” Nathaniel has been on full-time release from teaching while serving as the Kenai Peninsula Education Association (KPEA) president.” (One can, should,or would, assume at full pay/and benefits from the district)

    • al johnson–your assumption is incorrect. The president of the KPEA is paid by the union, not the district, while serving as president. See page 45 of the KPEA CBA: ‘https://kpbsd.org/wp-content/uploads/departments/human-resources/collective-bargaining-agreements/KPEA-CBA-FY22-24.pdf

  4. This is unfortunate what I will say is the most dangerous man around children is the one without a record. Moms and dads today need two things reading the Bible, learning from trustworthy bible teachers, and trusting their gut feeling or having a conscience that tells them red flags about other men and even other dads even women you can’t trust because there something about them that seems icky.

    • You’re a sad, sick woman. And stupidly bigoted as well.

      Would you like a list of “trustworthy” people who read the Bible and did everything from embezzlement to multiple affairs? Or how about ruining a country?

      Hint: the list is quite long and includes people like Sandi Patty to Jimmy Carter.

      • Wow. Talk about self-identification. I’m impressed, I haven’t seen it at that level for a long time.

        I’m also well impressed by how you can draw conclusions based on so little.

        I guess I’m just in the company of greatness.

        Lighten up. A simple fact is, there are far more welders, retail clerks, guys at JiffyLube, etc. that are sex offenders than there are clergy or educators…clerks and such don’t make headlines.

        I know, I know, pardon me, I don’t need to remind you of “man bites dog” or “the exception proves the rule.”

  5. Men and Women today need to know more about Every Man’s Battle and those who struggle read the book regularly as well as regularly attend a sexual addiction group for accountability purpose

    • Considering your inability to understand a Bible yet constantly beating people with your version of it,

      You’re not a person suited to recommend any behavioral books to anyone. And certainly not in a position to lecture people about accountability.

      • Wow.

        You also have an indisputable all-knowing of bible interpretation and translation also.

        Wow. A scholar in ancient Hebrew and old Greek to boot. Not to mention a rabbi’s master understanding of Talmud.

        Again, I’m in the company of greatness.

        • Yes, you are.

          It would do you significant good to actually learn something. If you can, which is doubtful if your posts are any indication of your intelligence.

  6. Just another example of why UnionMafia run Alaska public education is always asking for more money and delivering the poorest (and Dangerous) results in the USA.
    The D**k with a hard on wearing a dress teaching at the high school in Anchorage is another fine example of the lack of oversight by ASD.

  7. It’s incredibly vapid to toss out old tropes “not all schools are bad” and not all teachers are bad”

    That’s like me walking outside on a sunny day and say the sun does shine in Juneau.

    Facts are stubborn things. Kids in America have been getting steadily stupider for decades. Covid in particular put kids back grade levels plural.

    It is also a large majority of school boards tolerate the worst kinds of behavior out of their employees. Often covering up vile activities.

    It’s true there were some Nazi Concentration Camp guards who didn’t approve of genocide. But they were the very rare, very noticeable exceptions.

    Facts are stubborn things, and reality is a bitch.

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