The Ketchikan School Board will not vote this week on a contract for an independent investigator to look into the district’s actions regarding former teacher Doug Edwards.
Edwards faces criminal charges that allege he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl. The incidents, which police say he admitted to, allegedly took place at the high school, his home and the church where he was a pastor.
School Board President Trevor Shaw said Tuesday that he had an investigator lined up for the board to approve during Wednesday’s regular meeting. But, he said, the investigator had a family emergency late last week.
“She had to withdraw from consideration, so (I’m) back to getting recommendations on who to find for a potential investigator,” he said. “I’ve talked to a couple of people. That’s why there isn’t anything in the (board meeting) packet. It’s going to a statement from myself saying: ‘We don’t have anyone yet.’”
Following a special meeting in executive session on July 9th, the board voted to hire an investigator. That meeting was in response to a personnel complaint against Superintendent Robert Boyle. The only detail released about the content of the complaint is that it was related to the Edwards’ case.
Following that special meeting, Shaw said the investigation will look into the district’s response and actions related to Edwards, and what officials knew of his conduct.
On Tuesday, Shaw said he hopes to have a new investigator contract lined up soon for the board to vote on – maybe as early as later this week. He said once the investigation is complete, he hopes to release as much information as possible for the public.
“This is something that’s really hit the community to its core and has been really hard on the community as a whole,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest in not only what’s going on right now, but how do we make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. We want to do as much as we can to make sure we’re not only being accountable, but people trust the process and the outcomes that result from the findings of the investigation.”
Shaw said the public information can’t compromise confidentiality, and shouldn’t harm the criminal proceedings.
Wednesday’s school board meeting starts at 6 p.m. in borough assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start and end of the meeting.
Edwards was the long-time culinary arts teacher at Ketchikan High School. He retired at the end of this school year, and was charged just days after with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Below is a link to an earlier report about Edwards’ criminal case.