BURNSVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) – A Burnsville high school teacher is in jail Tuesday night, accused of having inappropriate communications with a student.
Burnsville police say 29-year-old Erik Akervik is accused of having sexually explicit electronic communication with the student over the course of several weeks. He’s been at Burnsville High School for four years and is also a choir director at Minneapolis’ Mount Olivet Lutheran Church.
The pastor of the Minneapolis church is shocked.
Police say the allegations involve one student from the high school not any from this church. The pastor tells WCCO Akervik has been a respected choir director there for six years. He doesn’t understand what has happened, but says right now the safety of the children has to come first.
Akervik has been placed on administrative leave.
“I think many young people would say this is their safe place and we have to safeguard that,” Pastor Dennis Johnson said.
Church and school, two places Pastor Dennis Johnson knows children deserve to feel at ease. Two places 29-year-old Erik Akervik has spent his seven-year career teaching music to dozens of students.
Johnson says no one has ever brought forth allegations of inappropriate behavior against Akervik at Mount Olivet, where he was one of the choir directors for the last six years.
“It is very heartbreaking for this community. The young man involved was very well-liked,” Johnson said.
The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District reports receiving information about the allegations on Saturday and immediately alerting police. Burnsville police arrested Akervik at the school Monday morning.
“I didn’t think it was able to happen. I thought that only happened in movies and shows,” student Isis Alquicira said.
Students like this sophomore describe the disappointment many are feeling after a sense of safety was violated.
“It felt really strange, really emotional. I got into my fourth period class and my friends was telling me how the whole class was crying because they knew him and they didn’t think he was going to be like that,” Alquirica said.
The Dakota County Attorney’s office tells us they expect to formally charge Akervik on Wednesday. He doesn’t appear to have any criminal record before this, other than minor traffic citations.
Police and the school are guarding the identity of the minor very closely as well, not even saying if it’s a boy or girl.