South High students come forward in alleged sex abuse case
An Anchorage woman who is accused of "inappropriate actions of a sexual nature" with students at South High School is facing multiple criminal charges.
Stefanie Custard, 42, was charged Saturday with sexual abuse of a minor in the second-degree and two counts of unlawful exploitation of a minor. Police say she could face more charges.
Custard was arrested Friday after a parent reported the alleged abuse to South High's resource officer.
According to charging documents, the school's resource officer heard from South High's principal that Custard was investigated in the past for inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old in 2017. The case was suspended due to insufficient evidence. On Oct. 23, detectives visited the victim in that case who then admitted something did go on between the two of them.
"[The Victim] said when he was 14 years old, he received oral sex from Custard in the back of her gray Honda Pilot vehicle," charging documents said.
In another incident, court documents say a mother of a South High student told the school resource officer that Custard used Snapchat to try to entice her 16-year-old son for sex and believes some of his friends are potential victims. The mother added that she didn't confront her son about it because she was afraid he would destroy the phone with all the evidence on it.
The teen of the concerned parent admitted he had sex with Custard. He said he didn't admit it earlier because he didn't want the get her in trouble.
Later that day, police were granted search warrants for Custard's home and seized her electronic belongings. According to court documents, Custard denied having sexual acts with any ASD students. When the detective asked her about sending a specific photo to one of the victims, she admitted sending it, but she didn't remember who she sent it to and then declined to answer any more questions.
Investigators say Custard used Snapchat, Instagram and her cell phone to communicate with the victims. One of them told investigators that Custard requested their help to delete direct messages on social media after police served the search warrant.
There is no indication that criminal activity took place on ASD property or involved ASD employees. Police say that the school district assisted in the investigation.
Anchorage police are asking anyone with information about this case or those who believe they may have been a victim, to call non-emergency dispatch at 311.
There are resources available for victims of sexual abuse in Alaska, including STAR and the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Custard's bail was set at $25,000 -- she must pay the full amount in cash before she can be released, pending her trial.
Custard's next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1.