Community Education Police & Fire

Court documents: Several students were victims of or witnessed teacher’s actions

Posted on April 19th, 2024 By:

Pierce County prosecutors on Friday charged an Evergreen Elementary School teacher who was arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexually abusing students with nine counts of first-degree child molestation.

The Peninsula School District placed Jordan Roy Henderson, 34, on administrative leave on Feb. 26 and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation after a student reported an incident of abuse that took place in mid-February.

Henderson remained in the Pierce County Jail as of Friday afternoon.

Persistent pattern

The nine counts involve three victims, but other students made statements to the Sheriff’s office. Charging documents include summaries of detectives’ interviews with several female students who spoke of witnessing and/or being victims of abuse by Henderson over the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

The students interviewed described a persistent pattern of the suspect touching them on the buttocks, thighs, chest and “privates.”

One student said she and “several other girls in her class agreed to watch out for each other and try to witness any touching by Henderson,” according to the interviewer’s notes.

One student reported she had been inappropriately touched by Henderson on multiple occasions, beginning when she was in his class during the 2022-23 school year. The student described Henderson as a “chill” teacher with lax classroom discipline. She said she initially thought of him as a “friend” because he would “let them run around the room, watch movies and eat popcorn.”

Teacher allegedly urged students to keep quiet

She became aware of another alleged victim. The two agreed to talk to Henderson and tell him his actions made them uncomfortable. The student reported that Henderson told her the touching was “something normal that teachers do, and to not go telling other people about it,” according to the interviewer’s notes. On other occasions, when she tried to get him to stop, he’d get angry and not allow her to play games the other students were playing.

Another student reported that Henderson touched her bottom often, “at times daily,” and on one occasion she reported he touched her private part, according to interviewer’s notes.

The student “said she could tell some of the girls in the class were afraid of Henderson,” the interview document states. She “said Henderson told her to keep what was happening a secret and that it was between the two of them.”

Evergreen Elementary, in Peninsula School District, is located on Key Peninsula Highway near Lakebay.

Church connection

The school district on March 15 notified parents, staff and media of the investigation into allegations against Henderson. The district said it was “fully cooperating with law enforcement.”

Kevin Hastings, an attorney with Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, representing one of the victims, said in a news release that Henderson was “a leader in his local church.” Hastings called that another potential environment “for him to identify, groom and sexually abuse children.”

Jordan Henderson is listed as a deacon and worship pastor at Wellspring Fellowship in Lakebay.

A statement by Lead Pastor Chris Henderson (Henderson’s father according to his bio on the church website) was posted on Facebook on April 18 and reads as follows:

“While some would have you focus on alarm bells and your greatest fears about what you do not know, I want to encourage you with confidence based on what I do know.

I know Jordan to be of the highest character and quality as a man. He is a great husband, a great father, a great teacher.

He and his family have the full confidence and support of our church. 

Please join us in asking that God reveal the full and complete truth regarding these allegations. Thank you.”

Hastings, the lawyer representing one of the victims, asked anyone with further information to contact him at [email protected] or (206) 335-7127.

“PCVA anticipates that more claimants will come forward once news of Jordan Henderson’s alleged sexual molestation is published and absorbed by the community,” the news release from the firm states.