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Fortuna High Teacher charged with four crimes in indecent assault case

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  • Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office
  • Photo from Gary Landergen’s prison reservation.

The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office filed an eight-count criminal complaint against Fortuna Union High School teacher Gary Landergen, charging him with four felonies and four misdemeanors based on allegations that he sexually assaulted three 15-year-old girls for four days. spread out this year.

Landergen, who teaches math and coaches athletics at Fortuna High School, was arrested April 6 on suspicion of sexually assaulting two students and Fortuna Police Chief Casey Day said that detectives had also located witnesses who had independently “observed some of the alleged misconduct”. A few days after Landergen’s arrest, Day told the Log that a third student had come forward to police to recount “several conversations” with Landergen that the student had found uncomfortable and inappropriate.

Humboldt County Assistant District Attorney Whitney Timm told the Log that while the Fortuna Police Department identified two victims in the case in the investigative report it sent to prosecutors, after reviewing it, it determined “that a crime additional had cursed a third victim”.

Prosecutors in the criminal complaint filed last week include four counts of performing a ‘lewd and lascivious act’ on a child with ‘intent to arouse, attract and gratify lust, passions and sexual desires of the accused”, violations of California Penal Code Section 288(c)(1). The charges relate to four specific acts of alleged sexual assault against three girls between March 30 and April 2, including a case in which Landergen is accused of grabbing one of the girls’ buttocks and telling him: “I love you”.

The complaint also includes two charges of misdemeanor sexual assault allegedly committed on March 30 and 31 against the will of the victim and “for the specific purpose of sexual arousal” and two counts of annoying or unlawfully assaulting a child under the age of 18 allegedly committed between January 1 and April 2.

Each of the counts Landergen faces carries a maximum sentence of three years in state prison and would require him to register as a sex offender.

The Fortuna Union School District placed Landergen on administrative leave just before his arrest. He remains free from custody after posting $35,000 bond and is expected to be arraigned in the case on May 25.

Landergen returned to Fortuna High School, where he previously taught in the 1990s before leaving for Argonaut High School in Amador County this year. In addition to teaching math, he coached the school’s track team and co-coached the fall wrestling team. Day said FPD detectives had been in contact with officials at Argonaut High School to advise them of the allegations facing Landergen in Fortuna and to ask if there were any reports of similar alleged conduct there.

day said The newspaper Earlier, Landergen had agreed to be interviewed by detectives during the investigation, but the police chief had refused to release details of Landergen’s statements “due to the ongoing investigation”.