A Fort Zumwalt East High School choir teacher is accused of forcing sexual acts on a student. Investigators say he committed the crime last summer, then convinced the victim not to tell authorities. Now, 30-year-old Craig Lachance is facing two felony charges.
“Every time it blows me away that something like this would occur in our schools,” said Fort Zumwalt Superintendent Dr. Bernard DuBray.
DuBray says Lachance passed an FBI background check, his references checked out, and he had not had any issues in his five-and-a-half years with the district.
“Even though you vet people out as best you can, occasionally something like this is going to happen,” said DuBray, although he says in his 32 years with the district, he can count the instances on one hand.
DuBray says Lachance didn’t step foot back into the classroom after the district learned of the accusations. Court documents say Lachance took a 17-year-old male student to his Cottleville apartment, where he allegedly provided the victim with alcohol. The documents say the student eventually passed out, and when he awoke ‘was started to find Lachance on top of him and that Lachance had partially removed the victim’s clothing without his consent.’ Lachance was also allegedly performing a sexual act on the student. The documents also state Lachance told the victim he would commit suicide if the student told anyone about the incident.
Police say the threat is part of what prevented the student from coming forward for months.
In addition to facing criminal charges, Lachance is on leave from his job as the district seeks his resignation.
“It always just absolutely astounds you that one of your staff members might do something like this but you just have to handle it swiftly so the parents know you won’t tolerate anything like that,” said DuBray.