A New York middle school principal was charged with attempted rape after allegedly trying to meet up with a 16-year-old girl at a remote location, bringing with him condoms, chicken nuggets and a Grimace milkshake from McDonald's.
Johnson City Middle School Principal Daniel Erickson, 55, was arrested Friday after an investigation by the Broome County Sheriff's Office.
"As a father, I know this is a nightmare scenario for any parent," Sheriff Fred Akshar said of the arrest Monday. "We entrust our schools with the care and safety of our children, and to have an individual violate that trust, abuse their power and prey on a very student charged in our schools' care is beyond disgusting."
Erickson Communicated with the Girl Over Snapchat, Posed as a Young Adult Initially
Authorities said they were tipped off to Erickson's alleged inappropriate behavior with a minor on July 5 and determined Erickson had been communicating with a 16-year-old high school girl via Snapchat for at least a week before his arrest. He allegedly made overt comments that signaled he wanted to engage in sexual conduct with the minor, according to authorities.
Erickson initially posed as a younger adult when communicating with the unidentified teen before telling her he was in fact the principal of Johnson Middle School and used the "school district database information to convince the 16-year-old girl who he really was," according to the sheriff's office.
Erickson Even Showed Up Outside the Girl's Home with Condoms
Erickson had repeatedly attempted to meet up with the girl before his arrest, including allegedly showing up to her home, however, the girl did not go outside to meet him during that incident, according to authorities.
After the sheriff's office was notified of the allegations, the young girl was no longer in danger, authorities said. The principal agreed to meet with the girl in a remote location in the county on July 7 with the intention of engaging in sexual relations, but he was immediately arrested by authorities, the sheriff's office said.
"Mr. Erickson brought with him a Grimace shake from McDonald's, chicken nuggets and a box of condoms," Akshar said at a press conference Monday.
He was taken into custody without incident and charged with luring a child, which is a Class E felony, and third-degree attempted rape, a Class A misdemeanor. He is being held without bail and the investigation is ongoing, according to the sheriff's office.
District Superintendent Releases Statement
Erickson was placed on administrative leave, according to Johnson City Central School District Superintendent Eric Race, and is not permitted on school property or to use any school property or devices.
"The district is taking all necessary and appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of our students, staff and the public," Race said. "We understand the extreme, unfortunate and negative impacts Mr. Erickson's alleged actions are causing our school district, our students, our parents, our community."
Erickson has been with the school district for more two decades, and served as the principal for the last 10 years.