Felony charges were filed Wednesday against a Burnsville High School music teacher accused of having sex with a student and sending sexually explicit messages to another.
Erik Akervik, 29, was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and electronic solicitation of a child. He made his first court appearance Wednesday and was released after posting $100,000 bail.
A Burnsville High School official reported to a school resource officer on Monday that Akervik had sent sexually inappropriate communications to a 15-year-old male student, the charges said. The officer then contacted the student, who said that Akervik added him on multiple social media platforms about a year ago. Three weeks ago, the teacher then started messaging him via Snapchat, which lets users share photos that quickly disappear.
Akervik sent a message to the student that said, “ I’d like to get to know you closer and better,” the criminal complaint said. The conversation lasted a couple of days and then the student began receiving nude photos of Akervik.
Akervik then messaged the student, “This is how you have me feeling now” with a photo of his genitals.
The student, knowing that Snapchat would alert the teacher that he had taken a screen shot of the photo, decided to keep a conversation going until he could get a phone application that would let the student save Akervik’s photos.
In the student’s conversations, the teacher admitted to “taking the virginity of a 15 or 16-year-old,” according to the complaint. He also made references to the identity of the student with whom he had sex.
Police then located another student, who said Akervik invited him to his Burnsville apartment in December, when he was 16. The two were watching television when Akervik began kissing him. The two engaged in a sex act, the complaint said.
“It is a felony under Minnesota law for a teacher to have sexual relations with a student who is 16 or 17 years old, if the teacher is more than 48 months older than the student,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a news release.
Akervik has worked as a vocal instructor for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district since August 2013. The district released a statement Tuesday noting that district officials learned of the allegations when they received a complaint on Saturday. District officials then contacted law enforcement officials.
“We are committed to fully working with the Burnsville Police Department in their investigation and take appropriate action to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for our students,” the district said.
Worked in Minneapolis
Before he was in Burnsville, Akervik worked as a music teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools. From 2010 to 2013, he was a music teacher for Jefferson Community School in Uptown. He also worked as a youth choral director at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for six years, Jackie Enestvedt of the church’s communications department said on Monday.
“There were no complaints” against him and he was well-respected in the music and youth departments, she said. The church has placed him on leave and informed parents Monday. None of the students in the choir were involved in the sexting incident.
Akervik was ordered Wednesday to have no contact with individuals under the age of 18 without prior approval of a probation officer. He’s also prohibited from going on Burnsville High School property or having any contact with students at the school.
His next court appearance is scheduled for May 11 in Hastings.
Backstrom encouraged anyone who has information about any other victims who may have had contact with Akervik to contact Sgt. Patrick Gast at the Burnsville Police Department at 952-895-4609.