A former Miles City high school science teacher has been arrested in Alaska and extradited back to Montana after being charged with having sex with a 15-year-old.
Morgan Cardinal Kloewer Pett, 38, was charged in Custer County District Court in April on six counts of sexual intercourse without consent, one count of sexual abuse of children and one count of tampering with evidence. All eight charges are felonies.
Police began investigating Pett after his wife told authorities in January 2017 that she found computer messages indicating Pett was in a relationship with an underage girl, the affidavit states. When she confronted Pett, he allegedly admitted the victim had sent him nude photos of herself.
The victim told police she began a relationship with Pett in October 2016, the affidavit states, and that she communicated with him using a messaging app that automatically deletes messages. The charges state they had sexual intercourse or other sexual contact on six occasions.
The sexual relationship between Pett and the victim lasted for about three weeks, according to charges, until he allegedly texted the girl stating that his wife had caught him and he wanted her to delete messages sent between them.
Investigators later obtained DNA evidence from the victim's vehicle that was a positive match with a DNA sample obtained from Pett.
Court documents state the girl was a student at Custer County District High School at the time. Miles City Public Schools Superintendent Keith Campbell released a statement through the district's attorney Wednesday stating that Pett worked for the school district from 2008 until the first weekend of 2017 when he was placed on administrative leave after administrators were notified of the allegations. He resigned Jan. 9, 2017, Campbell stated.
The district conducted its own investigation into allegations against Pett, according to the statement, and reported the findings to the Office of Public Instruction in February.
Pett was initially arrested in Alaska, before being extradited to Miles City, where he was booked into the Custer County Detention Center on Tuesday, Detention Sgt. Tim Crews said.
If convicted, Pett faces a maximum of life in prison and a minimum of four years in prison for each intercourse without consent charge, as well as the charge of sexual abuse of children. Tampering with evidence carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
He is currently being held in the Custer County jail on $500,000 bond. His arraignment is set for June 19.