ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for an overdue helicopter piloted by the former head of Alaska’s largest tribal health care organization who resigned last week after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him.
Andy Teuber, 52, former head of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, left Anchorage about 2 p.m. Tuesday in a black and white Robinson R66 helicopter, travelling to Kodiak Island, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
Family members reported three hour later to the Coast Guard that he had not arrived in Kodiak, about 250 miles (400 kilometres) south of Anchorage.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Lexie Preston said Wednesday morning that planes searching for Teuber on Tuesday found a debris field in the general search area, about 65 miles (105 kilometres) north of Kodiak.
However, she said they could not yet “confirm that was that helicopter” and that the search was scheduled to resume
Teuber abruptly resigned on Feb. 23 from the health care organization and as a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents. At the time, no reason was given.
However, his former assistant described a pattern of abusive behaviour, harassment and coerced sexual counters by Teuber in a three-page letter to consortium officials that was obtained by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica. She resigned the same day.
“Andy unrelentingly coerced, forced, and required sex of me,” Savanah Evans said in the letter.
The Associated Press does not usually name victims of alleged sexual misconduct, but the Anchorage Daily News said she gave permission to use her name. Their story was published online Tuesday.
She claimed the abuse, much of which took place in consortium offices, derailed her personal and professional life.
In an email to the newspaper on Monday, Teuber denied Evans’ allegations, calling it a “completely consensual personal relationship.”
“The allegations of wrongdoing that I have been made aware of are false, and these allegations and their timing appear designed to portray me unjustly and falsely; to damage my personal and family relationships; but especially to sabotage my recent engagement and new marriage; and to undermine my professional prospects,” Teuber wrote.
Teuber led the consortium for over a decade and was paid more than $1 million per year.
The consortium is co-owner and manages the Alaska Native Medical Center, one of three hospitals in Anchorage. The health organization provides services to more than 170,000 Alaska Natives and employs more than 3,000 people.
The consortium said it will conduct its own independent, outside investigation.
Mark Thiessen, The Associated Press