Thursday, April 7, 2022

Fortuna High School Teacher Arrested for Alleged Sexual Battery of Students

Posted By on Thu, Apr 7, 2022 at 9:43 AM

click to enlarge Gary Landergen's jail booking photo. - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Gary Landergen's jail booking photo.
The Fortuna Police Department has arrested Fortuna Union High School math teacher and wrestling coach Gary Landergen on allegations he sexually assaulted at least two students.

According to a press release, "at least two students" came forward to report they had been the victim of "inappropriate and unwelcome groping and/or fondling by Landergen." The Fortuna Union High School District placed Landergen on administrative leave just prior to his arrest at about 1:30 p.m. yesterday, according to the release.

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 booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of sexual battery and annoying, harassing or molesting a child. He was released after posting bail, according to sheriff's office spokesperson Samantha Karges.

The Fortuna Police Department is asking for the public's assistance identifying other potential victims and witnesses.

"Victims and their families are urged to come forward with any information and to immediately contact school administrators and the police department," the press release states.

Landergen reportedly taught and coached in Fortuna in the 1990s before leaving for Argonaut High School in Amador County, where he coached boys and girls wrestling and football and worked until last year.

Attempts to reach Fortuna Union High School District Superintendent Glen Senestraro and Police Chief Casey Day for additional information for this story were unsuccessful.

See the full press release from FPD below:


On Wednesday, April 6th, 2022, Fortuna Police Detectives arrested 56 year old, Gary F. Landergen on allegations of sexual battery on a minor. Landergen, who is a local teacher and coach in Fortuna had been placed on administrative leave by his employer just prior to the arrest by police Wednesday afternoon. At least two students came forward reporting they had been the victim of inappropriate and unwelcomed groping and/or fondling by Landergen. During the course of this investigation, detectives were able to locate and identify witnesses who had observed some of the alleged misconduct.
Landergen was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked without incident for the following charges and suspected violations of the California Penal Code:
• 243.4(a) Sexual Battery.
• 647.6(a)(1) Annoying, Harassing, or Molesting a Child.
The Fortuna Police Department is asking for any assistance in identifying any other potential victims. Victims and their families are urged to come forward with any information and to immediately contact school administrators and the police department.
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Thadeus Greenson

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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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