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Ex-Shen teacher who preyed on students released

Ex-Shen teacher who preyed on students released

Culver served most of 12-year sentence
Ex-Shen teacher who preyed on students released

CLIFTON PARK — A former Shenendehowa Central School District elementary school teacher who admitted a decade ago to sexually abusing students in his classes has been released from prison, records show.

Christopher Culver, 43, walked out of prison Thursday and is now listed as living in Chestertown, Warren County, records show.

He was released by statute after serving about 85 percent of his 12-year sentence. He is to be under supervision until March 2021, records show. He had most recently served his time at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.

He is listed in the state sex offender registry as a Level 3 offender, the highest risk to reoffend.

Culver pleaded guilty in November 2007 to the entire indictment against him, including 29 counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

He had been arrested the previous February and charged with abusing eight of his former students at Okte Elementary School in the Shenendehowa Central School District.

Culver had worked at Okte Elementary School for eight years. He had taught first grade.

Prosecutors noted the plea spared the children the trauma of trial, but also noted what they had been through. Culver pleaded guilty as jury selection in his case was about to begin.

An investigation into one boy's disclosure led to other students telling police Culver had inappropriately touched them, as well, police said then.

Culver had been set for release March 1, but a delay in his sex offender risk assessment hearing led to a week delay in his release until Thursday, officials said. 

The hearing was held last week in Saratoga County Court and Culver received his risk level, paving the way for his release.

It was not clear Friday why Culver settled in Warren County, but state records suggest he previously lived there. He lived in Clifton Park at the time of his 2007 arrest.

The case spawned multiple lawsuits against Culver and some against the school district. The suits were filed under pseudonyms and are sealed. But what is visible suggests most cases have long since concluded as the last filings are listed as 2013. One case was only filed in 2016 and had a last filing in 2017.

Attorneys involved in those cases either declined to comment Friday or did not return calls for comment.

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