Choir director faces sex charges

Erik Akervik

A Burnsville High School choir director faces felony charges for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old student and sending nude photos of himself to another student.

Erik Michael Akervik, 29, was charged Wednesday with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and electronic solicitation of a child.

Akervik has been a BHS music teacher since August 2013.

“It is a felony under Minnesota law for a teacher to have sexual relations with a student who is 16 or 17 years old, if the teacher is more than 48 months older than the student,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a news release. “Criminal activity of this nature is a significant breach of trust of students, their parents and the school community.”

The county attorney’s office gave the following account.

On Monday, April 10, a 15-year-old male student told a BHS school resource officer that Akervik had sent him sexually inappropriate communications. The student said Akervik had added him as a friend on several social media apps and websites about a year before.

Akervik had been communicating with the boy via Snapchat about three weeks before the boy spoke with the officer. Akervik allegedly sent a message saying, “I’d like to get to know you closer and better.”

Over two or three days of online conversation, the boy received nude photos from Akervik. The boy later acquired a third-party phone app that would allow him to save the photos without notifying Akervik.

During their online conversation, Akervik admitted to “taking the virginity of a 15- or 16-year-old” and made comments leading to possible identification of the male student, also from BHS. Police contacted the boy, who told them Akervik had invited him to his Burnsville apartment in December 2016.

As the two were watching TV, Akervik started kissing the 16-year-old and engaged in a sex act with him.

Burnsville police arrested Akervik at the high school without incident on April 10. Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 said it received a complaint on Akervik on Saturday, April 8, and immediately began an investigation.

KSTP News reported that Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis suspended Akervik from his part-time job as junior high choir director. Akervik reportedly has a degree from St. Olaf College and worked for the Minneapolis Public Schools from 2010 to 2013.

Akervik’s third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The electronic solicitation charge is punishable by up to three years.

Akervik made his first appearance in Dakota County District Court Wednesday. Bail was set at $150,000 without conditions and $100,000 with conditions. His next court appearance is May 11.