Former Forest Lake middle school teacher convicted of sexually assaulting students

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A former Forest Lake District college teacher has been convicted of sexually assaulting two boys while they were students.

Jurors convicted James E. Carter, 58, in Washington County District Court on Friday of second- and fourth-degree felony sexual conduct charges. Carter was acquitted of an additional count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

In a joint statement, Assistant County District Attorneys Keshini Ratnayake and Kayla Wengronowitz said, “We are extremely proud of these two individuals for having the courage to come forward. They did this to ensure that what happened to them would never happen to another student. “

Carter remains free on bail and is expected to be sentenced on September 16.

According to the criminal complaint:

Two boys, who were 16 and 17 when the charges were filed in August 2020, told the sheriff’s office that their middle school shop teacher sexually assaulted them.

Carter paid his students and alumni to do work at his home and other properties he owned. He also gave them gifts.

Carter befriended the first victim after the boy got into a fight at school and was given the opportunity to do community service in Carter’s class. He hired the boy to complete home improvement projects at his home, then started going to church with him.

The abuse involved Carter assaulting her six times.

The first boy told his 17-year-old friend, who also did odd jobs for Carter, that the teacher abused him. The second boy, who had met Carter while enrolled in his shop class, said Carter had also touched him sexually.

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