BURNSVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - Several young members of Mount Olivet Church in southwest Minneapolis have come forward to report they have also received inappropriate messages from now-fired choir director, Erik Akervik, who is facing criminal charges in Dakota County.
Akervik, 29, is also a music teacher at Burnsville High School. He is charged with electronic solicitation of a child and third-degree criminal sexual conduct, accused of sending messages and nude pictures to a 15-year-old student through Snapchat. Akervik allegedly send the teenager a message that said, "I'd like to get to know you closer and better." The student downloaded an application which would allow him to save the messages, eventually giving them to officers.
During the course of this conversation Akervik admitted to "taking the virginity of a 15- or 16-year-old," and gave information which led police to the student in question. The second victim reported that Akervik invited him over to an apartment to watch television in December, ultimately engaging in a sexual act, according to the complaint. The student was 16 at the time.
In an email message to the Mount Olivet community on Thursday, Pastor Johnson said Akervik’s employment was terminated after the criminal charges were filed Wednesday, and the church is asking any other potential victims to come forward.
“We are saddened and shocked by the information that has come to light in the past week, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims,” Pastor Johnson wrote. “We have also heard from several youth at Mount Olivet who have received inappropriate messages from Mr. Akervik. These incidents are being reported to the appropriate authorities.”
Akervik has been working as a music teacher at Burnsville High School since 2013. The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District said they received a complaint about Akervik last Saturday and immediately launched an investigation. Burnsville police officers arrested Akervik at the school on Monday morning.
“That day, we immediately suspended his employment and communicated this information directly to all Cathedral Choir members and their parents as well as to parents of the Chancel Choir,” Pastor Johnson wrote. “Based on the allegations that were released on Wednesday, we terminated his employment...Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our children, as well as our entire Church community. Mount Olivet has always been a safe place for youth and we are committed to making sure it will always be.”