A New York middle school principal has been charged with luring and the attempted rape of a 16-year-old girl after he was caught with condoms, chicken nuggets and a milkshake while attempting to meet up with her.
Daniel Erickson, the 55-year-old principal of Johnson City Middle School, was arrested Friday by the Broome County Sheriff’s Office in what the sheriff called a “nightmare scenario,” reports Fox News.
“As a father, I know this is a nightmare scenario for any parent,” Sheriff Fred Akshar said at a Monday press conference. “We entrust our schools with the care and safety of our children, and to have an individual violate that trust, abuse their power and prey on a very student charged in our schools’ care is beyond disgusting.”
“Mr. Erickson brought with him a Grimace shake from McDonald’s, chicken nuggets and a box of condoms.”
The sheriff’s office began investigating Erickson after receiving a tip on July 5 about inappropriate online communications with the minor. His communications via Snapchat included overt sexual comments indicating his intent to have sex with the underage girl, authorities say.
Erickson allegedly began communicating with the teen girl over a week ago, while posing as a younger adult. Eventually, he disclosed his real identity as a middle school principal, apparently attempting to build trust with his potential victim. He even went as far as to use the “school district database information to convince the 16-year-old girl who he really was,” the sheriff’s office says.
The sheriff’s office also said he had attempted to meet up with the girl multiple times before his arrest, including at least one attempt at her home. Once investigators were tipped off, he reportedly agreed to meet the girl for sex at a remote location in Broome County last Friday and was immediately taken into custody upon arriving at the undisclosed location.
Erickson was charged with luring a child, a Class E felony, and third-degree attempted rape, a Class A misdemeanor, according to the report.
Johnson City Central School District Superintendent Eric Race says Erickson was placed on administrative leave and is barred from using the district’s facilities and devices. He reportedly worked for the district for over 20 years, 10 of which as a principal.
“The district is taking all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of our students, staff and the public,” Race said. “We understand the extreme, unfortunate and negative impacts Mr. Erickson’s alleged actions are causing our school district, our students, our parents, our community.”
Erickson’s arrest is just the latest in an alarming series of incidents involving educators or administrators sexually abusing students.
As reported by The Lion, in October award-winning Kansas teacher Keil Hileman was charged with multiple felony sex crimes against students, including “consensual lewd fondling or touching with a person 16 or more years old.” At least two victims were enrolled at the schools where he taught.
In January, the Office of the Inspector General for Chicago Public Schools issued a report that disclosed over 600 complaints of “adult on student” misconduct in 2022. Among the 600 reports were 81 sexual touching cases, 35 grooming cases, 33 sexual abuse cases, 26 cases involving sexual acts, 25 instances of “in-person sexual comments” and 14 cases of “sexual electronic communications.”
In April, a California high school teacher was arrested after he allegedly hid recording devices in a “gender neutral” bathroom at the school where he worked. Siu Kong Sit, a 37-year-old math teacher at Beckman High School in Irvine, was charged with possession of child pornography, burglary and two other misdemeanors.
Just last week Fox News reports a Maryland high school teacher was arrested and charged for allegedly sexually abusing teenage students.
According to the report, 27-year-old Karl Houston Walls was “charged with second-degree rape, perverted sexual practices and sexual solicitation of a minor Wednesday. Walls was also charged with three counts of second-degree assault, five counts of fourth-degree sex offense as a person of authority and sexual abuse of a minor.” He reportedly also faces four counts of second-degree assault and assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to injure.