MILES CITY – A former Miles City teacher accused of sex with a 15-year-old student was placed on administrative leave "immediately" after school administrators learned of the allegation, Superintendent Keith Campbell said Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement sent to media by Billings attorney Jeana R. Lervick, Campbell said he was notified of the allegation that high school science teacher Morgan Pett had inappropriate communication with a student during the weekend of Jan. 7-8, 2017.
Pett was then placed on paid administrative leave the next Monday school day, pending the results of the investigation, and never again appeared before students.
According to Custer County court documents, the administrative leave came a couple days after Pett had his last of six sexual encounters over a month with the female victim. The encounters stopped after Pett’s wife discovered text message and nude photos of the girl on his computer and called police, prosecutors say.
Pett resigned Feb. 9, 2017 after administrators "thoroughly investigated" the matter, Campbell said, and he reported the district’s findings to the Montana Office of Public Instruction on March 24, 2017.
Pett was charged in April 2018 and extradited from Alaska to Custer County this week. He faces six counts of sexual intercourse without consent, one count of sexual abuse of children and one count of tampering with evidence. He is in Custer County District Court on $500,000 bail.
Campbell praised the staff at Miles City Public Schools for their work in a tough situation.
"Our staff was extremely quick to respond to the allegations, and I am grateful for all of their hard work to investigate promptly. It was, of course, a horrible situation and I appreciate the efforts of the Miles City Police Department, as well. We have an excellent staff and will continue to strive to protect our students," Campbell said in his statement.