A California charter school teacher was charged with 29 counts of lewd acts with children, including statutory rape. According to KTVU, 35-year-old Anessa Paige Gower was taken into custody by the Richmond Police Department upon returning to California from Hawaii on April 6.
Her victims were seven boys, ages 15 to 16, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's office says. Since they are minors, their names are being withheld. According to Paul Graves, the Contra Costa County deputy district attorney, the charges are "sex-related, some social media communications related, and inappropriate contact with minors."
Gower was a biology teacher at Making Waves Academy and is alleged to have committed acts of sexual nature with the boys between October 2021 and February 2022. Students reported her to their administrators, who then involved the Richmond police. The number of known students she allegedly violated then grew from two to seven.
Some victims report that sexually explicit photos were sent to them by Paige, which was then confirmed upon a search warrant to access electronic data.
"Anybody that you respect, they shouldn't have open lines of communication regardless," Graves said. "There's boundaries that we should keep, and so parents just need to continue to be vigilant on what their children are doing."
The school's Chief Executive Officer Alton B. Nelson Jr. released a statement on Friday.
"During the course of an investigation into allegations that one of our teachers violated school policy, we learned of additional highly concerning allegations involving that teacher's conduct. We immediately shared that information with authorities who are reviewing the matter. That teacher is no longer employed by Making Waves Academy and we have reached out to parents, students and faculty to provide support where it might be needed. At this time we can make no further comment," the school's statement read.
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