Last Updated on April 11, 2022
A California biology teacher has been arrested for allegedly molesting seven students and sharing graphic photos online, law enforcement officials said. Anessa Paige Gower, 35, is facing 25 felonies over the alleged abuse that occurred while she was teaching at Making Waves Academy in Richmond California, according to the Costa District Attorney’s Office.
The alleged abuse, which was documented by multiple witnesses and victims, dates back to December of last year. Among the accusations are that Gower engaged in sex acts with the minors, inappropriate touching and sharing sexually graphic photos, prosecutors said.
Authorities haven’t revealed the age or gender of any of the victims, but the charter school caters to students in grades 5 to 12, according to the New York Post.
The California teacher was taken into custody last Wednesday after landing at the Sacramento International Airport. Gower had just returned from a trip to Hawaii when she was apprehended. She remains behind bars in Richmond and is facing multiple counts of child molestation.
The California charter school teacher is ultimately facing 25 felony charges and 4 misdemeanors, according to Contra Costa County court records. The felony charges include sodomy of a person under the age of 16, lewd act upon a child, contacting a minor for purposes of committing a felony, showing or sending harmful material to seduce a minor, meeting a minor for lewd purposes and unlawful sexual intercourse.
Making Waves Academy Chief Executive Officer Alton B. Nelson Jr. said Gower was terminated after the allegations came to light. “During the course of an investigation into allegations that one of our teachers violated school policy, we learned of additional highly concerning allegations involving that teacher’s conduct,” Nelson told KRON4 in a statement. “We immediately shared that information with authorities who are reviewing the matter. That teacher is no longer employed by Making Waves Academy and we have reached out to parents, students and faculty to provide support where it might be needed.”
It is not clear how the allegations came to light, though Making Waves Academy says it informed police after becoming aware of Gower’s predatory activity. About 1,000 students from grades 5 to 12 attend the school, located on Lakeside Drive in Richmond, California.