South Idaho high school employee charged with sexual battery

GOODING — A Gooding High School employee and coach was arrested Friday and accused of sexually abusing a student.

Ann Kuroki, 26, faces eight felony counts of sexual battery of a minor child. She is the second Magic Valley teacher to be accused of having sex with a student in the past two weeks.

Kuroki was arrested after the Gooding Police Department was told about inappropriate behavior with a male student, the department said in a statement. The student is 16 or 17 years old.

After initially denying allegations, Kuroki admitted to police she’d had sex with the student six times at her house — starting in late November or early December — and bought him alcohol twice, according to a police affidavit.

An investigation began Wednesday and is ongoing, according to police.

Kuroki was fired Thursday from the Gooding School District “due to other findings uncovered while conducting their own internal investigation,” police said.

She was arraigned Monday in Gooding County Magistrate Court.

At Gooding High, Kuroki was a classified, at-will employee — meaning she wasn’t a certified teacher — and was hired last school year. She monitored the Idaho Digital Learning Academy lab, where students take online classes. She also coached junior varsity boys basketball.

“Our first concern in the Gooding School District is for students and their safety,” Superintendent Spencer Larsen told the Times-News on Monday. “When we got information, we acted upon it.”

A police affidavit gives this account of what happened:

During a couple of interviews with police, the boy denied ever having physical contact or a sexual relationship with Kuroki, and said he’d never been to her house.

After obtaining a search warrant, police searched Kuroki’s house Friday, and seized three cell phones, bedding and a card with a handwritten note given to Kuroki by the boy.

On Friday, Gooding police officer Sabrina Becker received a missed call and text messages from the boy’s mother saying Kuroki had come to her house to talk about her relationship with the boy.

The mother texted Becker: “I have Ann with me and I am taking her to the station. She’s going to confess…” They both arrived at the Gooding Police Department.

When questioned by police, Kuroki told them her communication with the boy began after she’d received a message that was “kind of flirty” from the boy over the summer — probably, in July — after she’d posted a picture on Instagram.

They began talking again in August when school started.

It was a normal teacher-student relationship at first, she said. But after the boy asked for her help editing his senior paper via Google Docs, they communicated through that platform.

Around November, “she started breaking down with her resolve to keep things professional with (the boy),” Becker wrote in the affidavit. “Kuroki stated she was nicer to him, she did not send him to the office nearly as much and they started talking more. Kuroki told me their messages became a lot flirtier.”

She told police she was “boozing” pretty heavy one night when the boy sent her an Instagram message. She asked him to pick her up from the Sidetrack Bar.

She said they drove around for a while, and then he took her home and left.

The next week at school, things felt different. “Kuroki said she knew what had happened was wrong but at that point she was already ‘Two feet in.’”

Kuroki told police she never had sex with the boy.

In mid-December, they were making out and “messing around” with sexual touching at her house, Kuroki told police, but said they didn’t have sex.

“Kuroki told me she had second thoughts about their relationship at this time and she broke up with him,” Becker wrote.

The boy was upset and very apologetic, and wrote a note saying he loved her. Kuroki said it killed her to know she “wrecked him.”

They met during Christmas break, and Kuroki apologized to him and tried to explain the situation. He kept trying to get back together with her.

After Christmas break, rumors were flying about their relationship, and Kuroki lied when questioned by the school principal and superintendent because she was scared.

She got the boy’s mother’s phone number off the school records system and called her to meet to talk about the rumors.

The boy’s mother recorded Kuroki’s voluntary confession to her, when Kuroki admitted to having sex with the boy and buying alcohol for him.

After being questioned again by police, Kuroki admitted to having sex with the boy six times at her house, starting in late November to early December, and buying alcohol for him twice.

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