Former Kivalina substitute teacher charged with sexual exploitation of multiple children

Kivalina, Alaska, in August 2009. (Creative Commons photo by Lt. Cmdr. Micheal McNeil/U.S. Coast Guard)

A former substitute teacher at the McQueen School in the Northwest Arctic village of Kivalina has been charged with several child exploitation crimes.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, 21-year-old Jayson Knox was arrested on Wednesday. He’s accused of soliciting explicit pictures from children in Kivalina, sending obscene photos to a minor and attempting to meet some of the children for sex.

Charging documents allege that Knox corresponded with 10 girls in the village — the youngest is 11. Using Snapchat and Facebook Messenger, he solicited nude photographs from several of them, while also sending sexually explicit messages and photos. Knox told investigators he kissed and groped one of the girls behind the school, and had asked to meet several others at an abandoned warehouse in the village. 

Knox said in interviews that he believed most of the girls were under the legal age of consent, which in the state of Alaska is 16. He stated he thought one of the girls may have been 16. He said he had begun corresponding with the alleged victims shortly after starting to work for the school in 2018.

If convicted, Knox faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison.