Sunday 4 December 2016

Primary school teacher and husband found dead on beach in murder-suicide after sex abuse allegations

Couple were accused of sexual contact with at least three underage boys

Published 04/09/2016 | 13:12

Aric Babbit, 40, was found dead with his partner after the couple were accused of abusing teenage boys
Aric Babbit, 40, was found dead with his partner after the couple were accused of abusing teenage boys

A primary school teacher and his husband were found dead on a beach in a murder-suicide after allegations they sexually abused teenage boys.

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Aric Babbitt, 40, and his partner Matthew Deyo, 36, came under investigation when a 16-year-old boy told police he was in a sexual relationship with the couple.

Court documents revealed the men were accused of sexual contact with at least three underage boys.

Police tried to speak to the couple about the claims at their home in Minnesota in August, but Mr Babbitt and Mr Deyo refused to give a statement.

Officers instead searched the house, finding a camera hidden in the bathroom and a computer folder named 'Kiddies', local media reported.

Soon after the police visit, the couple borrowed Mr Deyo’s brother's gun, saying they were going camping and needed it to protect themselves from bears.

They travelled to Lopez island, hundreds of miles away in Washington, where Mr Deyo shot Mr Babbitt and then himself, a coroner said.

The two bodies were found by a kayaker the following day, according to San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs, who said local people had heard gunshots at about 8.30pm the night before.

Investigations into the sexual abuse allegations are ongoing.

Mr Babbitt, who had been a primary school teacher at Lincoln Center Elementary School since 2002, was suspended following the allegations, but neither Mr Babbitt nor Mr Deyo had been charged with any crime at the time of their deaths.

The 16-year-old boy reportedly told detectives Mr Babbitt offered to support him when he came out as gay to his family,  and the teacher gave him gifts such as underwear. He also said the couple asked for photos of him before he was 16, according to an application for a search warrant seen by local media.

The boy told police that shortly after he turned 16, Mr Babbitt and Mr Deyo asked his parents, who were friends of the couple, if they could take him to a concert in Minneapolis.

Mr Babbitt and Mr Deyo then gave the boy alcohol and marijuana, the court documents said. Instead of going to the concert they took him to a hotel, where the three had unprotected sex.

The boy told police he woke the next day in the hotel room with Mr Deyo touching him.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is believed to have given the police pictures of himself naked with Mr Babbitt.

The boy told police he didn't want to get involved in a relationship with the couple, but didn't know how to say no to his former elementary school teacher and mentor.

At least two other victims are thought to have come forward, claiming they were also pressured into sexual activity with the couple.

Another of the accusers said Mr Babbitt had shared naked photographs of himself with him and encouraged him to masturbate in the bathroom, where police found the hidden camera.

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