Former Akiachak elementary school teacher convicted of sexual abuse

FastCast Aug. 7, 2023
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 12:57 PM AKDT
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BETHEL, Alaska (KTUU) - A former elementary school teacher in rural Alaska was found guilty of 14 counts of sexual felonies, according to a news release from the Department of Law.

On Friday, a Bethel jury convicted John Mark Hammonds, 49, of two counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, one count of first-degree sexual assault, eight counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of second-degree sexual assault, one count of enticement of a minor — all felonies — as well as one misdemeanor count of unlawful contact.

The charges stem from two victims, the release said, with 12 counts related to crimes while Hammonds was teaching at the Akiachak school in 2021, and two related to crimes in Wasilla in November 2019. The misdemeanor count related to an incident while Hammonds was in custody at the Goose Creek Correctional Center.

In addition to teaching elementary school students, Hammonds was also a coach at the school and was “acting as a self-proclaimed pastor in the village of Akiachak,” the release said.

The conviction comes following a three-week trial in which the jury heard from 32 witnesses.

Hammonds is being held without bail pending sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2024, and Hammonds faces a minimum sentence of 40 years and 5 days and a maximum of 595 years.