Fortuna High School teacher arrested for alleged sexual battery of students
The Fortuna Police Department arrested Gary Landergen, a match teacher and wrestling coach at Fortuna Union High School, on allegations that he sexually assaulted at least two students.
According to a press release, “at least two students” have come forward to report that they were victims of “inappropriate and unwelcome groping and/or touching by Landergen”. The Fortuna Union School District placed Landergen on administrative leave just before his arrest around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, the statement said.
The press release notes that detectives were able to locate and identify witnesses in the case who had “observed some of the alleged misconduct”.
Landergen was incarcerated in the Humboldt County Jail on suspicion of sexual assault and of annoying, harassing or molesting a child.
The Fortuna Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying other potential victims and witnesses.
“Victims and their families are urged to provide any information and contact school administrators and law enforcement immediately,” the news release read.
Landergen reportedly taught and coached at Fortuna in the 1990s before leaving for Argonaut High School in Amador County, where he coached boys and girls wrestling and soccer and worked until last year.
Attempts to reach Fortuna Union High School District Superintendent Glen Senestraro and Police Chief Casey Day for additional information regarding this story were unsuccessful.
See FPD’s full press release below:
On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, Fortuna Police Detectives arrested 56-year-old Gary F. Landergen on allegations of sexually assaulting a minor. Landergen, who is a teacher and local coach in Fortuna, had been placed on administrative leave by his employer just before his arrest by police on Wednesday afternoon. At least two students have come forward reporting that they were the victims of inappropriate and unwelcome groping and/or petting by Landergen. During this investigation, detectives were able to locate and identify witnesses who had observed some of the alleged misconduct.
Landergen was transported to Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was incarcerated without incident for the following charges and alleged violations of the California Penal Code:
• 243.4(a) Sexual Battery.
• 647.6(a)(1) Annoy, harass or assault a child.
The Fortuna Police Department is requesting any assistance in identifying other potential victims. Victims and their families are urged to provide any information and contact school administrators and the police department immediately.