A now-former Forest Lake Middle School teacher is being accused of sexually assaulting two students.
56-year-old James Edward Carter has been charged with two counts of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct and one count of Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.
According to the complaint, Carter paid several students to work at his home. The victims reported that Carter allegedly touched them on several different occasions after he developed a close relationship with them.
The incidents described by the victims include Carter allegedly giving them massages in his basement where he'd touch their groin and buttocks area.
On August 18, 2020, the first victim, now 16 years old, confided in the second victim, now 17 years old, that the suspect had touched him inappropriately. The second victim then shared that he had also been touched sexually by the defendant.
Law enforcement searched Carter's residence and discovered it as the victim's described, included the surveillance cameras located in the basement and outside the home. While officers were at the defendant's home, a third student showed up saying he was there to work for Carter.
In addition to the two victims and the third boy who arrived, there were nine additional high school-aged boys that were identified by name as students that "worked" for the defendant on various projects.
The Pioneer Press reported that the suspect had resigned from his position as an Industrial Tech teacher before the Forest Lake School District knew of the charges.
In a press release, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput commended the victims for having the courage to come forward.
Orput stated, “Protecting children is our greatest priority. The defendant wholly abused his position of authority as a teacher and trusted adult to these young boys. This abuse and breach of trust erodes the very foundation of our education system and will never be tolerated.”