A former hockey coach at Kenai Central and Soldotna high schools has been arrested on charges of sexually abusing minors over a span of 14 years. So far, seven victims have been identified, according to Alaska State Troopers.
55-year-old Bradley Elliot was arrested July 13 and remanded to Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai after a search warrant was served on his Sterling home. He faces 37 counts, including sexual abuse of a minor, child pornography and misconduct involving a controlled substance. He allegedly provided steroids to victims as a form of bribery, according to troopers.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District spokeswoman Pegge Erkeneff says that Elliot worked for the district as a junior varsity hockey coach at Kenai Central High School for the 2005-06 school year. She also confirms that Elliot was involved with the hockey program at Soldotna High School for three seasons, from 2007 to 2010, but is still investigating in what capacity Elliot participated.
“We’re still verifying the level of involvement, whether he was a volunteer, or in what position or role,” Erkeneff said.
Erkeneff says the district has a four-step process when hiring coaches. First, the position would be made available to certified staff at the school. If no one wanted it, the job would be posted on the district’s website. Any candidate who is selected as a potential hire after completing the application process would then undergo a background and reference check.
“Everything we do for an employee, and we also look for felonies and misdemeanors in that process. And then, if they pass that, we would offer them the position,” Erkeneff said.
The process to volunteer in the district was made more rigorous in the 2009-2010 school year, Erkeneff says.
“The district decided that they wanted to take this more seriously so there was a pilot program in 08-09 and then it was implemented districtwide in 09-10. So what happens if somebody volunteers in a school or is a volunteer coach they would go through a background check,” she said.
Troopers say the investigation against Elliot began in December 2015, on a tip from a citizen who was concerned that Elliot had abused a family member.
Erkeneff says she can’t comment on whether any complaints had been filed with the district regarding Elliot, citing employee confidentiality requirements. But she did say that the district’s policy is to investigate all such claims.
“If the district receives a complaint from anybody, generally it starts at a school site, and then it would go to the director level, and then potentially the superintendent, and there would definitely be an investigation,” Erkeneff said.
Erkeneff says that the safety and welfare of its students is the district’s first priority.
“I think that we’re continuing to improve and refine our background checks, so that all of our schools are safe places. We love our volunteers, we need our volunteers, our staff and we’re committed to safety for our students. And the school district stands against any employee or volunteer that is abusing a child or another employee and it’s never acceptable.” Erkeneff said.
Anyone who knows of other minors potentially victimized by Elliot is asked to call trooper investigator Austin MacDonald at 907-260-2737.