Tumwater police have arrested a 28-year-old woman formerly employed as a para-educator at Black Hills High School on suspicion of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former student there.
The 28-year-old was being booked at the Thurston County Jail Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor, Tumwater Detective Jen Kolb said.
The Tumwater Police Department’s investigation began in February, after the former student, a male, disclosed the alleged sexual relationship to police, Kolb said. The para-educator resigned at that time.
The alleged sexual relationship began when the former male student was a 16-year-old sophomore at Black Hills.
Kolb said police have found inappropriate texts between the 18-year-old and the former para-educator. Police also have found students who witnessed an inappropriate relationship between the pair. The two-year relationship progressed over time to a sexual relationship, Kolb said.
The male student left Black Hills High School during the 2012-2013 school year, when he was a senior, Kolb added.
The former para-educator supervised detention at Black Hills High School, Kolb said. The former para-educator is married.
Kolb said police do not believe there are any other students who might also be potential victims, but the case is still under investigation.
Tumwater Schools Assistant Superintendent Bob Kuehl said Tuesday that prior to the former para-educator’s resignation in February, the district “had no evidence that there was an inappropriate relationship.” However, Kuehl added that the district was already looking into the matter at that time.
The 18-year-old boy’s family has hired an attorney, G. Saxon Rodgers. Rodgers said that during the former para-educator’s relationship with the boy, she provided him with tobacco, alcohol and pain pills. He added that he believes the district knew or should have known about the inappropriate relationship. There are potential damages, because the boy had to leave school due to issues resulting from the inappropriate relationship, Rodgers said.
Rodgers said the pair had sexual relations at the high school on at least one occasion. The former student has said the pair had sex about 20 times, Rodgers said.
Kolb could not confirm Rodgers’ allegations on Tuesday. Kuehl said he cannot comment on potential pending litigation.