A local teacher will not be referred to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for criminal charges after being investigated by King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) regarding a suspected sexual relationship with a former student.
Local awareness of the matter dates back to Sept. 2, when Vashon Island School District Superintendent (VISD) Slade McSheehy announced, in a community email, that a teacher at Vashon High School (VHS) had been placed on administrative leave following a complaint involving allegations of misconduct.
The email also said the district had notified law enforcement of the matter.
At that time, a KCSO spokesperson confirmed that VISD had contacted KCSO on Sept. 1, regarding a suspected sexual relationship between the teacher and a former student.
Throughout September, The Beachcomber made numerous requests to KCSO for additional information and was told each time — most recently on Sept. 26 — that the case was still active and under investigation, and no further information was available.
But on Sept. 29, following another inquiry, KCSO Sgt. M. Corbett Ford said, in a phone call, that the case would not be referred for criminal charges.
According to Ford, KCSO investigators had determined that anything that had occurred “in this relationship” happened after the student had graduated from VHS.
While Washington law defines the age of consent as 16, it also specifies that teachers can be charged with either felony or misdemeanor charges of sexual misconduct with a minor if they engage in sexual activity with enrolled students up to the age of 21 years old.
The conduct of the teacher, in this case, had been determined to not meet that criteria, Ford said.
The school district’s investigation of the teacher, still ongoing on a separate track, focuses on the teacher’s possible violation of VISD’s policy 5253. This policy outlines the district’s role in protecting students from a broad range of inappropriate, boundary-crossing behaviors by staff members.
In an email on Sept. 30, McSheehy said the teacher remains on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.
McSheehy declined to answer other questions about the investigation, including whether the district had received any prior complaints about the teacher, the district’s timeline for the investigation, and its plans to communicate further with the public about the matter.
“The district is thoroughly investigating any allegations and it would not be appropriate to comment any further or provide any further statements to the community, other than the investigation remains ongoing,” he said.