A fifth former student has come forward to accuse a former Anoka middle school teacher of sexual abuse.
Jefferson Fietek, 46, now faces a total of 10 felony criminal sexual conduct charges stemming from the alleged abuse of five former students, all teenage boys, from 2009 to 2019.
Fietek was booked into the Anoka County jail in September after being extradited from Malden, Mass., where he was living and had been in custody since July. He posted $250,000 bail with conditions that included having no contact with the alleged victims or anyone under the age of 18, not leaving the state and submitting to GPS monitoring.
In a virtual court hearing Monday, attorney Jack Rice asked Anoka County District Judge Kristin Larson to allow Fietek to visit his 77-year-old father in Arizona. County Attorney Beth Beaman opposed the request, citing concerns that Fietek wouldn't return to court, and the judge denied the visit.
Fietek's next court appearance is set for Feb. 3.
The Anoka County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation June 25 after receiving two different allegations of sexual abuse against Fietek, with at least two other alleged victims coming forward.
The fifth alleged victim said he was abused by Fietek on three different occasions in 2013 and 2014 when he was in seventh and eighth grade at the Anoka Middle School for the Arts, where Fietek taught.
The former student said he was abused once in a dressing room in the school's theater department and twice at Fietek's home in Coon Rapids. His account matched those given by the other alleged victims.
According to court documents, the former student said he thought of Fietek as a "father figure" and that his parents trusted Fietek with the student outside of school because they felt he was "a genuine teacher and more like a family friend than anything."
The former student "did not tell anyone because he thought no one would believe him due to the defendant's reputation and him being an activist for so many students," according to documents.
Text messages were shared with investigators revealing that Fietek sent images of the student to a third party and claimed he had performed oral sex on him.
Fietek taught theater at the Anoka school from 2005 until he resigned in June 2019 to become an assistant professor at Emerson College in Boston. Three complaints were filed against Fietek while he taught in Anoka, but none resulted in disciplinary action.
When allegations surfaced online over the summer, Emerson officials announced Fietek was no longer employed there without saying whether he resigned or was fired.
Jacob Tighe, 24, was the catalyst in the case against Fietek after first sharing on Facebook in June the abuse he said he experienced beginning in middle school.
"Once I shared my story I was urged to make a statement to police," Tighe told the Star Tribune. "It took me awhile to come to terms with what I was dealing with."
Tighe, who lives in Utah, was invited with the other four alleged victims to observe Fietek's court hearings via Zoom conference call. He said the support he's received has helped during an emotionally draining process and that he remained in touch with the others for mutual support.
"There are people willing to see this all the way through to the end. People all over the country, I have their full support," he said. "I'm really hopeful to see him locked up and that he never gets out to do this to someone again."
Kim Hyatt • 612-673-4751