Bethel principal raised suspicions after girl reported he touched her in secret, federal affidavit says

Gladys Jung Elementary School Principal Chris Carmichael was arrested and released into federal custody on Dec. 11. (Petra Harpak / KYUK)

Christopher Carmichael, the Bethel principal who was charged last week with sending graphic text messages to an FBI agent posing as minor, came to the attention of local police in June, after a former student reported being inappropriately touched by him, according to a court affidavit.

Federal prosecutors charged Carmichael with “attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor, and attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.”

Bethel police began investigating Carmichael in June when a former Gladys Jung Elementary student told police that Carmichael had inappropriately touched her after she graduated but was still a minor. The victim alleged Carmichael would touch her outside the view of security cameras and often after other staff had left the building. He told her “they had to be careful because people would suspect something bad was going on when it was really nothing,” the affidavit said.

The FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force joined Bethel police and began investigating Carmichael in late November. An undercover agent posing as a 13-year-old girl began communicating with Carmichael in iMessage and phone calls. In the affidavit, the FBI agent alleged Carmichael coerced the fictional 13-year-old into sending him photos of her in her underwear and discussed them meeting at a motel.

Throughout the communication between Carmichael and the fictional minor, Carmichael allegedly described sexual acts he wanted them to do together and said that he wanted to buy her things from Victoria’s Secret.

He repeatedly told her he loved her and was helping her and that she was “never alone now” because she had him “for support, for help,” the affidavit said.

He explained to her that he would refer to her as 18 years old so “if anyone did get into my messages I could say, ‘Well, I misunderstood,’” the affidavit said.

He told her to call him “daddy” and reminded her many times to delete their messages and phone log, according to the affidavit. Before a trip to Anchorage, he asked her if there was a motel near her home within walking distance, the affidavit said.

The FBI arrested Carmichael on Dec. 10. Afterwards, the affidavit said, he admitted to FBI agents that he was sexually attracted to children, “in particular children who are beginning puberty and pubescent.”

Carmichael also “accepted responsibility for initiating the inappropriate relationships with the minors. He stated he understood it was both wrong and illegal,” the affidavit said.

Carmichael remains in federal custody, awaiting his initial court appearance, which is scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in Anchorage. If convicted, Carmichael faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison.

KYUK’s Anna Rose MacArthur also contributed to this story.