By Rikki King Herald Writer
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — School officials already had decided to fire a Mountlake Terrace High School teaching aide and coach before he resigned earlier this year.
Anthony Williams, who’s in his late 30s, was making inappropriate sexual comments to high-school girls, and he’d lied about getting in trouble for it before, according to documents obtained by The Herald under state public records laws.
Multiple girls, teachers and staff had complained about Williams’ comments, records show.
During their investigation, administrators at the Edmonds School District also learned that Williams omitted from his job application that he’d previously worked at the neighboring Northshore School District, which includes Bothell.
Williams resigned from Northshore in 2008 after students there reported similar complaints, records show.
In interviews with school officials, Williams admitted some of what he was accused of, but also denied wrongdoing.
He could not be reached for comment for this story.
Williams was hired in 2009 as a teaching assistant at Edmonds-Woodway High School. In 2010, he became a teaching assistant at Mountlake Terrace High School, and helped coach football and track.
At Northshore, Williams worked as an aide and a coach at Bothell and Inglemoor high schools, starting in 2006. He also previously worked for Seattle Public Schools.
An investigator at Northshore determined that Williams was having inappropriate conversations with students. He reportedly sent sexual text messages to at least one student-athlete and asked her out on a date. He reportedly called students “hot,” complimented them on their bodies and asked them whether they were virgins.
Williams had been warned in the past at Northshore not to send texts to student-athletes about anything other than team activities, records show.
In the paperwork, Edmonds district officials said they were worried the complaints about Williams showed a pattern of “grooming behavior” — a term used when an adult cultivates an inappropriate relationship with a child.
Williams was placed on leave from the Edmonds School District in December. District officials decided to fire him in January, after the investigation, and after they received the information from Northshore. Williams reportedly admitted to them that he lied on his application about the past allegations.
“In the course of the investigation (we) discovered he had falsified information in his job application with us,” Edmonds School District spokeswoman DJ Jakala said. “Based on that, he resigned his position before the district took action to terminate.”
The allegations against Williams in Mountlake Terrace don’t appear to violate any criminal statutes, Mountlake Terrace police Cmdr. Doug Hansen said. Police would investigate if there were any indication of criminal activity, he said.
The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is not investigating either, spokesman Nathan Olson said. The state office generally is limited to investigations linked to the status of people’s teaching certificates or other kinds of related professional certification, he said. Other personnel investigations are conducted at the district level.
All people who work in education in Washington are required to report past allegations of sexual misconduct when they apply for a job, he said. Lying on a job application is grounds for termination.
Williams submitted his resignation letter Jan. 28.
At the time, district officials told The Herald they could not discuss the matter. The Herald requested the investigation records on March 8 and received them May 1, almost two months later.
A Feb. 12 article in the Mountlake Terrace High School student newspaper, “The Hawkeye,” also raised questions about Williams’ resignation. The paper reported that Williams was involved with various activities at the school including student leadership and drama.