ANCHORAGE — An Alaska high school music teacher who is facing sex abuse charges told police he was in a “very dark place” when he crossed the line with the first choral student.
Christopher More, 29, appeared in court Monday and told the judge he couldn’t afford a lawyer, the Anchorage Daily News reported. He is being held in the Anchorage jail after his Sunday arrest.
According to the charges, More admitted to having sexual relations with two girls when interviewed by detectives on Saturday. One of the girls contacted police on Christmas Eve.
Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau said the district is taking steps to fire him and will seek a revocation of his teaching license.
More is a West High School choral music teacher who also has taught in elementary and middle schools. He is married with a young child, Comeau said.
“We take these adult-student issues very, very seriously,” Comeau told the newspaper. “I’m just appalled every time something happens like this. Because people should send their kids to school and feel safe and have their kids feel safe and just enjoy being in school. When anything like this happens, it puts a bad mark on the whole profession.”
Before the police investigation began last month, she said, there had not been any accusations of misconduct against More. He had passed criminal background checks and was considered an excellent, charismatic teacher, she added.
Extra counselors were assigned to West High and Romig Middle School on Monday to help students and staff.
According to charging documents, More is also accused of groping a third girl last May, though he denied to police that he had done so, the Daily News reported.
One girl told detectives that she had a sexual relationship with More in late 2009 and early 2010. The girl was 17 and a West senior at the time but has since graduated, police say.
Police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said he didn’t know what had prompted her to contact police.
The 17-year-old took private singing lessons from More in the summer of 2009 after her junior year and took several of his classes her senior year. That fall, More picked her up for school every morning.
She told police that the sexual encounters happened in the West High choir office, the choir room, a school hallway, the Romig Middle School choir office, More’s vehicle and his house.
Police say the 17-year-old became troubled about having a sexual relationship with her married teacher last February, and the relationship ended.
Soon after, according to charging documents, More began having sexual encounters with another student who was 15 at the time. The girl told police that by the end of last school year she was performing oral sex on More about every day, the Daily News reported. More told police that the relationship resumed this fall, the charges say.
More has been charged with felony counts of first- and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, as well as second-degree sexual assault based on allegations he touched the third girl without her consent.
Bail for More was set at $100,000, and he’ll be required to be under the supervision of a court-approved party if released.
The charges involving the older girl come under a state law that allows people in positions of authority who engage in sexual activity with someone younger than 18 to be prosecuted for sexual abuse of a minor.
More was a part-time music teacher at Palmer High for the 2006-07 school year. He also taught at Williwaw Elementary in Anchorage and in the fall of 2008 became choir director for West and Romig.
“As a teacher, my primary goal is to teach and help turn my singers into respectful, educated, responsible, well-rounded humans and positive contributors to society,” he says on his School District Web page.