EDMONDS — Police are investigating an Edmonds-Woodway High School educational assistant and coach who has had a relationship with a 15-year-old girl that police allege included phone and e-mail communication "of a sexual nature."
"There has been no actual sexual contact between the staff member and the student, to our knowledge," Edmonds police Sgt. Jeff Jones said.
The 26-year-old man lives in Lynnwood. His job with the district includes assisting with teaching special-needs students and coaching, but police did not identify which sport he coaches or which sport the student was involved in.
"We don’t want the news media to try to narrow it down," Jones said. "We are trying to keep it broad right now so people don’t try to put two and two together, because charges have not been filed."
Edmonds police filed a case report with the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office on Friday. The man has been on administrative leave since Jan. 20, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. He will remain on leave until the school district completes an internal investigation.
Debbie Jakala, a spokeswoman for the Edmonds School District, said she was limited in what she could say because the allegations are part of a police investigation.
However, there is nothing to indicate that the educational assistant did anything inappropriate in a classroom setting with special-needs students, she said.
Jakala said she hopes the allegations of an inappropriate relationship are placed in perspective.
"It is such a minute percentage of employees," Jakala said. "Unfortunately, it can reflect on a large group of people that do good by kids."
The investigation began in January when a friend of the 15-year-old told school officials about what she felt was an inappropriate relationship between the educational assistant and the student.
School resource officer Martin Speckmaier interviewed other students, and police eventually obtained a search warrant for the man’s home, including his computer.
Police said the investigation revealed an earlier incident with the same girl that school officials weren’t able to substantiate at the time. Police also discovered that the man has been communicating with the girl for more than a year.
Reporter Victor Balta: 425-339-3455 or firstname.lastname@example.org.