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By ZACHARY HALASCHAK
Daily News Staff Writer
The Ketchikan School Board will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to hear the final report on the investigation into the district’s handling of former Ketchikan High School teacher Douglas Edwards.
The 60-year-old Edwards was arrested in June on multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor — just days after his retirement from the district. He had worked as the culinary arts teacher at Kayhi for 15 years.
Edwards, a prominent figure in the community, also served as the pastor of the First Baptist Church for about 20 years.
On June 21, Edwards was indicted by a Ketchikan grand jury on six charges — three counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and three counts of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor, which are Class B and Class C felonies, respectively.
According to charging documents, Edwards allegedly abused a 14-year-old girl on multiple occasions at both his house and in the basement of the church, although, the majority of the alleged misconduct occurred at the high school.
“In describing one of those incidents (to police) she stated that the defendant invited her into the storage area of the culinary arts room offering her (candy),” the sworn affidavit in the case reads, “and once in the storage area he then hugged her from behind, putting his hand down the front of her shirt, under her bra and held her bare breast.”
After the charges were levied, many in the community began asking questions — Are there other alleged victims? What did the school know? What did the district know?
The School Board formally brought on Suzanne Michael, an attorney from Seattle, to investigate the district’s handling of the case.
During the investigation, Michael interviewed numerous individuals — the outcome of those interviews and corresponding investigation will be delivered to the School Board in a final report at Tuesday’s special meeting.
There will be time for the public to address the School Board at the outset of the meeting before the School Board convenes an executive session to hear the final report from Michael.
Although there is no formal action planned following the executive session, School Board President Matt Eisenhower told the Daily News on Monday that each School Board member would likely receive a written report on the outcome of the investigation.
“I don’t anticipate any action, but obviously that’s the will of the (School) Board coming out of the executive session,” Eisenhower said. “I anticipate at executive session for the report to be delivered to us orally as well as in writing and then the (School) Board members will have time to review the report.”
“We’ll have another executive session at our regular meeting on (Dec. 12) and then there could be some action following that is what I would anticipate, but we don’t know until we hear what’s in the report,” Eisenhower said.
Eisenhower said neither he nor the School Board knows what will be in the report delivered on Tuesday, and explained that it is at the discretion of the School Board as to what, and when, information would ultimately be make available to the public.
Tuesday’s special meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly chambers. There will time for citizen remarks at the start of the meeting.