The Montessori School of Raleigh told parents Wednesday evening that a former substitute teacher had been arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, for alleged child molestation.
The arrest follows the November 2017 arrest of former MSR teacher Nick Smith on charges of statutory rape and child pornography, and the May felony indictment of MSR head of school Nancy Errichetti for allegedly aiding and abetting Smith by covering up his sexual misconduct, a first-of-its-kind prosecution. (Smith is in jail awaiting trial. Errichetti is on leave from the school, though court documents say she continues to collect her $200,000-a-year salary.)
Phoenix’s KNXV-TV reported Tuesday that Nathan Elder, forty-four, was arrested on December 30 for molesting a five-year-old relative while visiting family there. After filing a police report, the child’s parents reached out to family in Oakland, California, whom Elder had visited a few days prior. That family also reported molestation by Elder, according to KNXV-TV, and filed a report with Oakland Police.
Jeannie Norris, who became MSR’s interim head of school just before the 2018-19 school year, announced the news to parents in an email Wednesday evening. The email noted that Elder was a substitute and contract teacher at MSR, not a full-time employee, and that there had been no reports of misconduct during his time at the school.
“Nathan Elder was a contract instructor, not an employee of MSR,” the email read. “He served as a substitute instructor for an afterschool LEGO Studio class on the Lead Mine Campus during the spring of 2017 and conducted LEGO Studio classes once a week on the Lead Mine Campus during the 2017–18 school year. He has not been at MSR this school year. Please know that the company provided certification that national criminal background checks had been completed on this individual with no adverse findings. Further, this instructor worked solely with groups of students, not with individuals.”
Initial reports identified Elder as a part-time employee of the Montessori School of Durham. The Durham school released a similar statement after his arrest.
“On January 1, we learned that a part-time employee, Nathan Elder, was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, on December 30, 2018, for child molestation involving a family member,” it read. “The school immediately terminated his employment.”
“We have not received any reports of inappropriate conduct by this employee during his four months here,” the statement continued, “but will carefully review the nature of his conduct. We are committed to the safety and well-being of our students, follow rigorous background and reference checks, and maintain clear protocols that prevent students from being alone with employees.”
Norris said Thursday morning that she would pass along the INDY’s request for comment to the school’s Board of Trustees, but no one from the school had responded by the afternoon.