MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 46-year-old Massachusetts man who formerly taught teacher at Anoka Middle School for the Arts is facing seven felony charges of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly sexually abusing four juvenile students.
Jefferson Jerome Fietek was arrested in Massachusetts on Friday and will be extradited to Minnesota.
Amy Mills was a proud theater parent at the school, supporting her daughter as a program volunteer from 2014 to 2017.
“I was at every show, I was with every cast before the show, I did makeup for several shows, I just was the mama bear while I was there,” Mills said.
Her role as theater “mama bear” allowed her to notice theater director Jefferson Fietek’s suspicious behavior almost immediately.
“It was just trickles, right? It was, you know, inappropriate amount of attention towards specific kids. It was touching that felt a little bit more than what it should be, and I wasn’t the only that saw it. My husband saw it clear of day as well,” Mills said.
Aileen Mucangi removed her son from Fietek’s class several years ago after the then-seventh grader told her he was uncomfortable.
“He said he keeps touching people and he kept touching him, and I asked him where, and he said shoulders,” Mucangi said.
A warrant now details what victims allege was happening behind the scenes at the hands of now-46-year-old Fietek. The warrant outlines accusations from four male victims who say Fietek engaged them in sexual acts when they were teens at his home and the middle school, among other places.
The accusations dating back to 2009, but allegedly happened as recently as 2019 — the year he resigned from the school. Fietek met one student through a dating app, but the others through theater.
“He put himself in this position of just, you know, godliness,” Mills said. “He just had a lot of control.”
Mills says she made an anonymous call to the school principal in 2016 to alert her to Fietek’s inappropriate behavior with students, including rubbing shoulders and heads.
“I expressed my concerns of possible grooming with her, and was immediately presented back with, ‘Well, he just really loves his students,’” Mill said.
Mucangi says she alerted the school as well to no avail.
“They dismissed us instead of listening,” Mucangi said. “If they paid attention to the many concerns we had, this would have been stopped.”
Officials from Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 say they “did investigate three complaints against Fietek during his time with the district and none of them resulted in discipline.”
“He didn’t only groom children, but he massively groomed the parents and the adults, and also the community as a whole,” Mills said. “I don’t know how the school could’ve turned their eye to everything.”
Of the seven felony charges Fietek faces, four of them are first-degree level. First-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a possible $40,000 fine.
Fietek first gained media exposure about a decade ago as an advocate for LGBTQ+ students after several students in the district committed suicide in a span of a couple years. He also ran for a Minnesota House seat in 2014.
Source: CBS Minnesota