A former theater director at Anoka Middle School for the Arts is under investigation after sexual assault allegations were brought against him by a former student.
Allegations against Jefferson Fietek, the school’s theater director from 2005 to 2019, surfaced last week in a Facebook post by the former male student, who is now an adult living in Utah.
The Anoka County sheriff’s office confirmed Monday that it is investigating sexual assault allegations that two alleged victims made against a “former staff member” at the arts school, which is a magnet school in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
Although the statement did not name the person under investigation, the school district has named the accused as Fietek, who left the middle school to teach arts at Emerson College in Boston.
According to the sheriff’s office, a report was made to them on June 25 alleging the sexual assault of a former student approximately nine years ago by a male staff member. The accuser said the assault did not occur on school grounds.
He is also accused of sexually assaulting a second student, the sheriff’s office said. The alleged assault was reported to have occurred last year.
The sheriff’s office said it has received additional information from social media regarding possible additional accusations and urged other possible victims to contact them.
“Much of that information regarding new victims has not been reported to law enforcement,” the sheriff’s office said in its statement.
In a statement emailed to parents Friday, the Anoka-Hennepin school district said it was alerted to a social media post on Thursday and “took immediate action working with law enforcement and the appropriate agencies regarding allegations brought against former theatre director, Jefferson Fietek.”
Fietek was an outspoken advocate for gay students in the Anoka-Hennepin school district. He was actively involved in the fierce debate over anti-gay bullying that rattled the school district in 2010 after a string of student suicides and the filing of two federal lawsuits by students who were bullied in district schools for their real or perceived sexual orientation.
In March 2012, the school board voted to accept a settlement agreement with former and current district students who had filed the lawsuits over a policy requiring staff to remain neutral when the topic of sexual orientation came up in the classroom.
The settlement required the district to hire staff to improve the climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and more closely monitor and report bullying. The district also paid a lump sum of $270,000 to be divided among the student plaintiffs.
On Monday, school district spokesman Jim Skelly said that Fietek had three complaints in his personnel file while at the school, but that none of them led to discipline and that they did not involve alleged sexual misconduct. Because there was no discipline, the district is not allowed under state to reveal the nature of the complaints.
“If they were of sexual nature, the district would have had to report them immediately to law enforcement and to the mandated reporter,” he said.
In 2014, while living in Coon Rapids, Fietek unsuccessfully ran for the state House of Representatives District 36A seat after receiving the DFL endorsement.
Up until last week, Fietek was an assistant professor of performing arts at Emerson College.In a statement Monday, Emerson College said that it was aware of allegations of “serious misconduct” by Fietek prior to being employed by the college and that he is no longer an active faculty member. A college spokeswoman said she could not disclose if Fietek was fired or if he quit.
Attempts to reach Fietek Monday were unsuccessful.
Fietek’s theater consulting website and social media accounts have been deleted.