Frei: Idaho administrators not forthcoming about suspended MHS teacher’s past misconduct

An investigative report by the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office in Wallace, ID was given to the school superintendent after it was completed. The report outlined alleged misconduct on the part of a Wallace High School teacher, Joseph J. Pagel in 2010. He is currently on administrative leave from his position at Mohave High School after he was criminally charged for similar conduct locally.

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.—Administrators with the Colorado River Union High School District are surprised that a police report that outlined alleged misconduct on the part of a suspended Mohave High School math teacher while he was employed in northern Idaho was not uncovered during an extensive background check when Joseph James Pagel, 33, was first hired in Bullhead City. Even more surprising to school district superintendent Riley Frei is the fact that none of Pagel’s supervisors at Wallace High School made mention of the investigative report nor the subject matter it contained when they were contacted as part of the local school district’s vetting process.

Frei says that Pagel, like all other prospective new hires into the school district, underwent an extensive, nation-wide background check that is conducted by a third party.

“Nothing in that background check raised any red flags,” Frei said.

The superintendent only learned this week that Pagel had been the subject of an investigation by the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office in June 2010. Investigators were asked to investigate Pagel who was suspected of having engaged in a sexual relationship with a student that attended Wallace High School. No charges were filed in the case because the student was 18-years old.

The report by Shoshone County Sheriff’s Cpl. Jeanette Woodard, which included excerpts from an interview with the victim, outlined a relationship between Pagel and the student that had materialized during the 2008/09 school year, and started with text messaging but blossomed after Christmas 2009. The victim turned 18 on Dec. 15, 2009. During the interview, the victim told the detective that Pagel “text messages a lot of kids, but it kinda went a little too far with us.”

Pagel is currently facing criminal prosecution in Bullhead City for similar conduct he allegedly had with a student at Mohave High School. He is also accused of inviting other students to his house to smoke marijuana. He is currently on administrative leave from his position at a math teacher.

So how did someone who was investigated for alleged misconduct with a student while he worked in Idaho get hired for a teaching position at Mohave High School?

Frei says, the district’s vetting process should have uncovered Pagel’s questionable past, but he and other administrators have to rely on the information they are told by others. Since no criminal charges were filed in Idaho, the sheriff’s office investigation was most likely not found by the third party vendor that conducts the background check.

But what about reference checks?

When he applied for his teaching job in Bullhead City, Pagel listed three references: the superintendent of the Wallace School District, the principal of Wallace High School and the school’s athletic director. Frei says, administrators at Mohave High School spoke with all three administrators from the school in Idaho.

As part of the district’s suitability process, all references are asked 15-30 questions. Included in those questions are specific references to whether or not the prospective employee had ever been the subject of an investigation into misconduct involving a student. Frei says, none of the three administrators in Idaho made mention of the sheriff’s office investigation. He does not know why that information was withheld and the report itself points out that at least the superintendent and the principal were very much aware of the report’s existence.

Cpl. Woodard closes her investigative report by directly indicating that, “A copy of this report will be forwarded to the superintendent, Wallace School District #393.”
Her report also indicates that the victim’s mother had alerted Wallace High School principal Matt Coleman of the alleged conduct and asked that her daughter be removed from his classroom. Coleman reportedly honored the request, according to the police report. Cpl. Woodard indicates that the decision to remove the victim from the classroom satisfied the mother who did not want to take any further action in the case.

Frei says that the district’s legal staff is reviewing the district’s vetting procedures to determine if any changes should be made that might prevent future failures. Any proposed changes will be brought before the Colorado River Union High School Board for consideration.

Despite the review, Frei said, regardless of whatever background checks are conducted, he and other administrators need to be able to trust other administrators to give them the proper information about prospective new hires.

“Any time I’m called to provide a reference, I provide all the information I have because it is my integrity that is on the line if I don’t,” Frei said. “I guess I just expected others to do the same thing.”

MHS teacher was investigated for student relationship in Idaho in 2010

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– A Mohave High School math teacher charged with several felonies for inappropriate conduct with students is apparently no stranger to questionable conduct with students. tv2 NEWS has learned that Joseph James Pagel, 33, was investigated for a relationship he reportedly had with a high school student nearly five years ago in Idaho.

No charges were ever filed in the case because the student with whom Pagel befriended was 18-years old at the time they became intimate. Nonetheless, detectives with the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office in the northern Idaho town of Wallace, filed a report in the case after investigating the incident. At the time, Pagel was a teacher at Wallace High School.

The sheriff’s office investigation revealed that Pagel and the student, who was his teacher’s aide, had engaged in a sexual relationship in 2010. The sheriff’s office had been notified by the student’s mother after her attempts to end the relationship failed. Pagel and the student had actually became friends the previous school year and she told investigators they grew closer together over time. The two reportedly exchanged texts, spent time together in and outside of school, including holding hands and kissing. The investigators could not establish that any crime had been committed by Pagel and therefore no criminal charges were ever filed.

The student’s mother only learned of her daughter’s relationship with the teacher when she found several text that Pagel had sent her daughter on her cell phone. The sheriff’s office report indicated that the mother confronted Pagel twice about his relationship with her daughter and asked that it end. When he refused, the mother took her case to the principal of the school. The end result was the student was removed as Pagel’s classroom aide.

Pagel left his position in Idaho and was hired by the Colorado River Union High School District as a math teacher at Mohave High School. He is currently on paid administrative leave as administrators conduct an internal investigation into allegations he had inappropriate relationships with several students.

Pagel was arrested by Bullhead City police on Mar. 13 after concluding their investigation into reports that Pagel not only attempted to lure a female student into performing oral sex on him, but that he also invited several students to his house and smoked marijuana with them multiple times.

He is currently charged with attempted sexual conduct with a minor, furnishing harmful items to minors, electronic furnishing of harmful items to minors, luring a minor and transfer of marijuana. He is currently free on his own recognizance, but has been ordered to stay away from the high school.

18yr old & two minors accused of sexual assaulting 13yr old girl

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– Three teenagers who had sexual intercourse with a 13-year old girl are in trouble with the law after police received some photographs of their illegal activity. One of the suspects is 18-years old. The other two are minors.

Police arrested the 18-year old suspect, Ethan Ray Kabat, on Tuesday only hours after they began their investigation. Detectives have identified the other two suspects, but have not released their names or age.

According to Bullhead City Police Department spokesperson Emily Fromelt, detectives received the photographs and the information about the illegal activity Tuesday morning. The pictures had been shared with their friends on Facebook and transmitted by text messaging.

After conducting their investigation, including several interviews, police determined the girl in the pictures was only 13-years old. Once they identified the boys in the picture officers arrested Kabat.

He was charged with one county of sexual conduct with a minor and booked into the Mohave County Jail in Kingman.

The case is still under investigation as police are looking into the transmission of other inappropriate images. Since the other boys in the photographs have been identified as being under the age of 18, their fate will rest with the Mohave County Attorney’s Office who will review the case for possible charges.

BHC man accused of molesting four of his great-granddaughters

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– For the third time in less than a month, Bullhead City police detectives have made an arrest of a family member who is accused of sexual misconduct with one of their youngest relatives.

There are four female victims connected to the latest investigation– ages 7, 8, 10 and 11.

The abuse was originally believed to have started shortly after their great grandfather moved in with them and their mothers in January, however, authorities have since learned that the inappropriate conduct may have been going on for several years. The family lives in Bullhead City now, but prior to their relocation, they lived in Laughlin and in unincorporated Mohave County and authorities are investigating claims that the abuse may have been occurring in those jurisdictions, as well.

Yesterday, the abuse came to an end when one of the victims finally had enough and told her mother what had happened. The mother, and her sister, spoke with their children and learned that four of their daughters had been victimized.

Police were called out to their residence in the 1700 block of Coral Reef Drive Wednesday afternoon.

The two sisters live in the same house, together with their children– nine total. The women’s grandfather– their children’s great grandfather, Joe Nevarez, 84, moved in with them two months ago.

Detectives learned that the four girls had been molested by their great grandfather numerous times since January, 2015 while in Bullhead City. Their findings will be forwarded to detectives with Las Vegas Metro and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office for their use in a potential investigation for alleged misconduct in Laughlin and elsewhere.
Nevarez was taken into custody on charges of sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault and continuous sexual abuse of a child. Additional charges are possible.
Nevarez was booked into the Mohave County Jail in Kingman and is being held without bail.

Nevarez is the third person in the past month to have been arrested by Bullhead City police on charges stemming from alleged sexual misconduct with minors. On Feb. 26, detectives arrested Samantha Jean Wright, 44, on charges she inappropriately touched her 6-year old daughter and on Mar. 4, police arrested Ralph Fernandez III, 28, for allegedly forcing his 7-year old step-daughter to perform sexual acts with him.

Rollover on the Bullhead Parkway claims the life of a Fort Mohave woman

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.—A Fort Mohave woman was killed in a single-vehicle rollover accident Tuesday afternoon on the Bullhead Parkway. Emergency crews were dispatched to the accident scene at 3:45 p.m.

When they arrived, they found the victim’s white GMC pickup in the southbound lanes. The 60-year old driver had been ejected as investigators believe she had not been wearing a seatbelt, which is required under Arizona law.
Investigators believe the woman was originally travelling north when, for unknown reasons, she lost control of her vehicle, allowing it to cross on the southbound lanes and roll several times. The driver was the only occupant.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The accident forced Bullhead City police to close the Parkway from North Oatman Road to Canyon Drive. The closure remained in effect for two hours as police conducted their investigation and emergency crews cleared the scene.

The accident remains under investigation.

Convicted sex offender arrested for sexual assault in BHC

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– A convicted sex offender was arrested Monday morning for sexually assaulting a woman half his age while she was passed out. Geoffery Eugene Burbank, 42, was taken into custody by patrol officers on Monday.
Detectives had identified him as the prime suspect in a sexual assault that took place over the weekend.

Officers had been called to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center, where the victim had been taken following the incident. A friend of the victim told investigators that she walked in on Burbank while he was having sexual intercourse with her 21-year old friend. According to Bullhead City Police Department spokesperson Emily Fromelt, the friend was unconscious, having passed out in her room from drinking too much alcohol.

When confronted by the friend about what she had witnessed, Burbank reportedly ran out of the house. He had been staying at the residence for about a month, according to Fromelt. He, however, never had any relationship with the victim.

In addition to evidence of the sexual assault, police reported some bruising around the victim’s throat.

A Bullhead City judge issued a temporary felony warrant for Burbank. On Monday, he was located by patrol officers. At the time of his arrest, he was found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia and a small amount of methamphetamine. He has been charged with sexual abuse, sexual assault, failing to register as a sex offender, possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was booked into the Mohave County Jail in Kingman.

Mohave High School teacher arrested in BHC

MHS teacher accused of several felonies for engaging in illegal activity with students.

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– A Mohave High School math teacher has been arrested on multiple felony charges for allegedly engaging in illegal conduct with several students, including the sending of sexually explicit text messages. Detectives with the Bullhead City Police Department believe it has been going on since fall of 2014.

Police arrested Joseph James Pagel, 33, Friday morning after concluding their investigation which started on Mar. 5 when a female student first alerted school officials to Mr. Pagel’s alleged illegal conduct. She told administrators that she had received sexually explicit text messages and nude photos from a teacher. She also indicated that the same teacher had been supplying narcotic pills to students, as well as smoking marijuana with them after school hours.
Detectives spoke with several students regarding the allegations. According to a police department spokesperson, during the course of their investigation, detectives uncovered evidence to suggest that Pagel engaged in several texting conversations with a female student that eventually included lewd requests to perform oral sex. He also sent two nude photos to the student by text message. In return, the teacher received a partially nude photo of the student, which he reportedly requested.

Police have also determined that Pagel has, on several occasions, invited students to his house to join him in smoking marijuana.

While at the Mohave High School campus, Pagel is also accused of providing some students, who complained of a sports-related injury or a headache, with narcotic pills. Police believe them to be Percocet.

Pagel has been charged with attempted sexual conduct with a minor, furnishing harmful items to minors, electronic furnishing of harmful items to minors, luring a minor, and transfer of marijuana.

KPD trainee shoots and kills man

     KINGMAN, ARIZ.– A police officer trainee shot and killed a man Wednesday night after he pulled a gun on the field training officer that was working with the new trainee. It was later determined that the gun Ryan Dean Burgess, 31, of Kingman, pointed at the officer was a BB gun designed to replicate a vintage semi-automatic pistol.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the shooting on behalf of the Kingman Police Department.

Officer Chaz Truver and his field training officer, 13-year Kingman Police veteran officer Wayne Hollon, were the first to arrive at the scene of a domestic disturbance in the 2200 block of Lucille Avenue where the male subject was known to have lived with his mother. They and other officers were responding to a 911 call at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The reporting party advised police dispatchers that Burgess was punching holes in the walls of the residence and was acting violently.

While approaching the front door to Burgess’ house, Officers Truver and Hollon were met by Burgess as he exited the front door, pointing a gun at Officer Hollon. According to a sheriff’s department spokesperson, Officer Truver immediately commanded Burgess to drop the gun and when he failed to do so, he then fired several rounds, striking and killing Burgess.

It wasn’t until after the shooting that police learned the gun that Burgess was using was a CO2-powered BB gun, however, it wasn’t your average, ordinary BB gun. It was a replica of a Colt Defender 1911 semi-automatic piston. According to the sheriff’s office, the weapon is the exact same size, shape and weight of the real gun.

During the incident, Officer Hollon injured one of his knees and was transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Burgess is believed to have been intoxicated at the time of Wednesday’s incident. A final determination will be made by the Mohave County Medical Examiner.

Girlfriend accused of setting boyfriend on fire

BULLHEAD CITY, ARIZ.– Police have arrested a woman on aggravated assault charges after she sprayed her boyfriend with lighter fluid and then set him ablaze.

The 56-year old male victim survived the attack and was treated at the scene by Bullhead City Fire Department paramedics.

It happened early Sunday morning at a residence in the 1000 block of Mobile Lane. A nearby resident called police after hearing someone yelling for help shortly before 4:30 a.m.

When police officers arrived, according to a department spokesperson, they could smell a strong odor of lighter fluid inside the residence. They found the victim who had successfully extinguished the flames. He suffered burns to his upper body.

He told investigators that he and his girlfriend where in the midst of an argument when she sprayed him with lighter fluid and then proceeded to light it on fire.

The girlfriend, Rebecca Michelle Mahoney, 37, of Bullhead City, was arrested at the scene. She’s been charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct per domestic violence.

She was transported to the Mohave County Jail in Kingman.

Police in Laughlin arrest ex-felon after chase down Riverwalk

LAUGHLIN, NV.– A four-time registered ex-felon from California led Laughlin authorities on a foot-pursuit down the riverwalk on Sunday and is now facing felony charges in Nevada. Dustin Sansoucie, 25, of Hesperia, Calif. was with a female passenger when his vehicle was stopped on Casino Dr. for a traffic violation.

According to Metro Lt. John Healy, the commander of the Laughlin substation, both Sansoucie and his passenger were ‘acting suspicious’ while talking with the Metro officer that stopped them. The driver, who would later be identified as Sansoucie, could not provide the officer with information that identified him. Eventually, the officer asked Sansoucie to step out of the vehicle.

Once both were back at the officer’s patrol car, the driver informed the officer that he had meth in his right front pocket. The meth was recovered without incident, but as the officer was attempting to place the suspect into custody, he managed to escape and the foot pursuit ensued.

Sansoucie managed to run down a steep grade toward the riverwalk, continue north on the riverwalk and then back up and across Casino Drive, again. He was captured in the desert area, just west of Casino Dr.

Sansoucie was booked into the Tucker Holding Facility and then transferred to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, where he remains in custody. He will have his initial court appearance tomorrow in Laughlin Justice Court.

After taking the suspect into custody, police returned to Sansoucie’s vehicle. Inside, they found a sawed-off shotgun with the serial number obliterated and a revolver. Since he’s an ex-felon out of California, Sansoucie does not have the legal ability to possession firearms and short-barrel firearms are illegal in Nevada.