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Minnesota roundup: Burnsville teacher accused of sexually explicit communication with student

Erik Micheal Akervik

BURNSVILLE, MInn. — A Burnsville High School music teacher is accused of having sexually explicit electronic communication with a student over the past several weeks, police said.

Erik Micheal Akervik, 29, of Burnsville, was arrested at the high school about 11:30 a.m. Monday and booked into Dakota County jail on suspicion of using the internet or a computer to distribute material that relates or describes sexual conduct with a child, jail records show.

Akervik is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Wednesday.

Akervik has been employed by the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district since August 2013, working as a high school music teacher the entire time, the district said Tuesday in a statement.

The district received a complaint about Akervik on Saturday, and began their own investigation and contacted police, according to the statement.

Akervik, who grew up in Duluth, Minn., received a degree in vocal music education from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., in 2010.


St. Paul hires Burnsville superintendent to lead district

ST. PAUL—St. Paul school board members didn't have to look far to find the "healer" they say their school district needs.

On a 5-2 vote Tuesday, the board chose Joe Gothard, superintendent of Burnsville-Eagan-Savage schools, to fill the same job in St. Paul, pending contract negotiations.

Gothard, 45, has been Burnsville superintendent since 2013 and previously was a principal and assistant superintendent in his hometown of Madison, Wis.

Board member Mary Vanderwert, who visited Gothard's district last week, said co-workers there called him "a healer, approachable and a unifier" who has effected a major culture change with little pushback.

"I found him to be disarming and honest and effective," she said.

Board member Zuki Ellis also called Gothard a healer. She said St. Paul is facing hard times and needs someone with vision.

Five of the seven board members have taken office in the last 16 months as the teachers union muscled out incumbents who backed then-superintendent Valeria Silva.


Joint funeral planned for family shot in St. Paul; mother recovering

ST. PAUL—The St. Paul man and his two daughters shot to death last week will be memorialized at a joint funeral, his pastor said Tuesday.

The date has not been set, but will likely be a couple of weeks away, said Paul Marzahn, senior pastor at Crossroads Church in Lakeville, where McIntosh attended.

The family hopes that Anita Sprosty, the mother of the young women killed, will be well enough attend, but nephew Louis Hernandez said he didn't know if that would be possible.

Sprosty, 46, was critically injured in the shootings.

Police say Jeffrey Jemaile Taylor, 20, killed Wade McIntosh, 47, and his daughters Maria McIntosh, 19, and Olivia McIntosh, 17, early Friday morning. Taylor had a child with Maria McIntosh.

Sprosty, who was shot in the face, is doing better and was able to be taken off a ventilator, Marzahn said Tuesday. She has been heavily sedated because of the extent of her injuries and, as far as Marzahn knew, had not been told that her daughters are dead.

The funeral will take place at Redeeming Love Church in Maplewood, where Maria and Olivia mostly recently attended, Marzahn said.


Man agrees to pay $200,000 in restitution for embezzling from two-city auto dealership

MOORHEAD, Minn. —A former employee of a Moorhead- and Detroit Lakes-based auto dealership who was charged in 2015 in a large embezzlement case pleaded guilty Tuesday, April 11, to a theft charge and indicated he was willing to pay restitution of $200,000 to the dealership.

Former Big Lot accountant Stuart Jay Larson, 49, of Fargo, pleaded guilty in Clay County District Court, where a sentencing hearing is set for June 1.

Larson and a co-defendant, Cory Dean Cambronne, formerly Big Lot's general manager, originally faced 10 felony theft counts each when they were charged in July 2015.

Cambronne, 43, of Le Center, Minn., pleaded guilty in February to one count of theft and was sentenced to 60 days in jail. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $100,000.

According to court documents, a co-owner of Big Lot contacted Moorhead police in May 2014 to report that money appeared to be missing from the business and that Larson and Cambronne were suspected of embezzling more than $300,000.

All told, the company's cash shortage amounted to about $450,000, court documents state.

Prosecutor Pam Harris said Tuesday that an insurance settlement in the case covered some of the loss.

She said when Larson is sentenced, she will argue for jail time at least equal to the 60 days Cambronne received.