Michael Scholz speaking at an event in downtown Anchorage to feed those in need in March of 2019.

Long before a group of local women began filing complaints with the State of Alaska against former traveling massage therapist Jason Karpinski, who was charged with four counts of Sexual Assault II earlier this month — one Anchorage resident was dialed in to the alleged online activities of Karpinski as far back as 2019 — believing that Karpinski posed a risk to homeless girls on the streets of Anchorage and students of the Anchorage School District.

Michael Scholz, who has long since escaped poverty after spending roughly three years on the streets as a homeless teenager, continues to work behind the scenes in an effort to keep homeless youths informed of potential sexual predators. It is a cause Scholz strongly believes in; as awareness breeds knowledge and better allows for homeless youth to make decisions about who they should and should not interact with and trust. Information is power on city streets... especially to those who want to survive.

In 2019, homeless girls in Anchorage began asking questions on social media about messages they said they were receiving on Facebook from Jason Karpinski. Some of those messages made their way to Scholz with youths asking if he knew anything about Karpinski and whether his offer to provide massages was legitimate.

Scholz, seeing numerous messages from Karpinski supplied to him by homeless girls, grew alarmed and says he issued a streetwide social media BOLO in 2019 in Anchorage — an effort to alert as many kids as possible. Scholtz said he also brought Karpinski’s name and messages to the attention of employees of Covenant House, who Scholz says he worked with in an “un-official capacity” to make their Outreach Team aware of “potential threats.”

In numerous messages sent to girls by Karpinski, kept by Scholz all these years, and which have been supplied to The Blue Alaskan — Karpinsky appears to have used the promise of marijuana and alcohol to entice girls and offered to provide them massage services.

In March 2019, Scholz directly confronted Karpinski via Facebook, telling him that he “can’t go around offering underage girls weed and massages and send memes about orgasms.” Karpinski appears to have responded in part that the “only thing (he) asked about was weed & massage, nothing else.”

According to Scholz, Karpinski did not stop messaging girls in the weeks and months after confronting him online.

Alerting ASD

In the summer of 2020, Scholz came to learn that Karpinski had been hired by the Anchorage School District as a bus driver and took action. On August 11, 2020, Scholz called the listed number for ASD Senior District Transportation Supervisor Heather Philp and told someone there that Karpinski had been messaging girls via Facebook who he believed to be underage. During the course of that 6 minute phone conversation, Scholz was told that he would receive a call back.

That same day, roughly 1 hour and 48 minutes later, Scholz received a call back from someone at the Anchorage School District whose name he does not recall. During the course of that ten-minute phone conversation, Scholz said he verbally relayed detailed information regarding the messages and what he knew of Karpinski’s online activities. Call logs supplied by Scholz appear to confirm both conversations took place.

The school district employee asked Scholz to send an email with the messages to ASD Senior Transportation Supervisor Philps, which he did at 4:08pm August 11, 2020, according to the original email supplied by Scholz. He never heard back from the school district after sending his email. Scholz followed up over the next week making numerous attempts to confirm that Philps had indeed received his email and took his concerns seriously. It weighed on his mind heavily until just recently.

When reached for comment by email, Alan Brown, the Director of Communications & Community Outreach Anchorage School District responded:

“I can share with you that Jason Karpinski was employed at the School District as a substitute bus driver from Jan 31,2020 to August 21, 2020. As you are aware, Mr. Karpinski is the subject of an active APD investigation, of which ASD is cooperating. Therefore, the District is unable to provide additional details related to his employment as not to interfere with the investigation. Anyone with information related to the investigation should contact APD.”

I asked Mr. Scholz how he feels now, having just learned today that Mr. Karpinski's employment ended ten days after he notified the school district about Karpinski. Scholz responded: “It makes me wonder how many children he was in contact with...these are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.”

Scholz tells me he had no idea that Judy Jessen and a group of women were filing complaints with the State of Alaska regarding Karpinski in August 2020 — the same month he, himself, had alerted ASD about Karpinski’s alleged online activities.

Scholz says he will continue to keep an eye out for homeless youth in Anchorage, the city where he too once wandered with no hope for his life. He says he feels an obligation to do so and thinks his involvement as an adult who has experienced living on the streets as a teenager can help provide an extra layer of safety for some of Anchorage’s most vulnerable homeless youths.

Scholz also says that he has supplied Detective Kevin Palmatier, who is assigned to the Karpinski case, messages he says were sent to the homeless minor girls on Facebook by Karpinski.

STAR Alaska has a free and confidential hotline that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just call 907-276-7273 for support. All STAR services for survivors are provided free of charge.

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