Former Soldotna teacher accused of sexually abusing student to be released on house arrest

the kenai courthouse
The courthouse in Kenai. (Sabine Poux/KDLL)

Former union president and Soldotna teacher Nathan Erfurth will be released to third-party custodians on house arrest this week, per a bail hearing Thursday morning. Erfurth was arrested in May on charges of sexual abuse of a minor, related to an alleged sexual relationship with an underaged former student.

He’s been at Wildwood Correctional Center since. At Thursday’s hearing, a judge allowed Erfurth to be released into house arrest, where he’ll be monitored by a GPS tracker and two custodians, his father and mother-in-law. Erfurth appeared at the hearing remotely.

The alleged victim is a former student of Erfurth’s, who told police the two had a close relationship for many years, which became sexual when she was 17, about six years ago. This spring, she reported the incident to police, and in April troopers obtained a warrant to record a conversation between her and Erfurth. In the recording, she asks if he regrets their sexual relationship, and Erfurth replies that he does if the consequence is prison, according to the affidavit.

Soldotna police also investigated two prior incidents related to Erfurth’s relationship with the student, in 2016 and 2017. Neither led to criminal charges.

Erfurth’s attorney advocated for him to be released with an ankle monitor and allowed to move freely about a restricted area on the central peninsula, under two alternating full-time third-party custodians.

However, Judge Martin Fallon said he believed Erfurth was both a flight risk and a danger to the community, because of the severity of the charges, and required house arrest under the watch of the two custodians. Erfurth is not allowed to have any contact with the victim, or unsupervised contact with any minors, other than his biological children. He’ll remain under house arrest until his trial, which the judge warned could be months or more than a year away.

The judge set a $25,000 performance bond, and a $100,000 performance bond, 10% of which had to be paid for release. The bail was paid shortly after the hearing by family.

During the hearing, Kenai District Attorney Scot Leaders suggested the state may bring forward more felony charges in the case.

Erfurth was removed as president of the Kenai Peninsula teacher’s union shortly after his arrest, and acting-President Tamra Wear said at the most recent school board meeting that a special election is underway.

Erfurth’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 5 at 4 p.m.

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