Teacher resigns after ex-student says they had a sexual relationship

LAKE STEVENS — A Lake Stevens High School teacher has resigned after being accused of a sexual relationship with a former student.

Lake Stevens police investigated Thomas “Chris” Mattingly, 47, on suspicion of misdemeanor sexual misconduct. Prosecutors declined to file charges because the former student reported she was 18 and had graduated before the relationship started.

Mattingly, who is married, has denied any wrongdoing. His attorney declined to comment for this story.

The Lake Stevens School District has an ongoing internal investigation, attorney Pat Buchanan said. In addition, the state superintendent’s office is reviewing Mattingly’s teaching license.

Mattingly submitted a resignation letter to the district Feb. 10. The Daily Herald recently obtained the letter and the police reports through public records requests.

Mattingly is using paid time off for the rest of the school year, Buchanan said. His resignation is effective in June.

“He will not return,” she said.

In Washington, the legal age for sexual consent generally is 16. However, teachers, police officers and others in positions of public trust face additional rules regarding their conduct.

Mattingly started working for the school district in 1992. In addition to teaching, he coached several sports and supervised the weight room during non-school hours.

Mattingly also was the track coach for the Arlington School District from 2011 to 2015, and in the past has volunteered as a track coach for Seattle University. He is no longer coaching for Arlington, a district spokeswoman said.

The former Lake Stevens student turned 18 before graduation. She and other recent graduates were using the school’s workout equipment over summer.

She told police the relationship took place between July and November, continuing after she left for college, records show.

In November, she told officials at her college and they decided to report what they’d heard to their local police. That department called their counterparts in Lake Stevens. The police in the college town said they were concerned the teacher could “continue his behavior with future high school students,” records show.

Lake Stevens police notified the school district, and Mattingly was placed on leave. He declined to speak with detectives.

The teen’s parents told police they found out about the relationship in August, when an email from Mattingly accidentally showed up on the mother’s cellphone. The email appears to have been sent from the same account Mattingly lists as his contact information for high school sporting events. The email talks about being in love with the former student.

The teen’s parents said they confronted Mattingly after seeing the email and they asked him to cease contact. He allegedly said he just was friends with the teen. Her father later approached Mattingly again and asked him to stop talking to the teen, records show.

At one point, Mattingly reportedly obtained a new cellphone number with an area code that matched the teen’s college town so they could communicate without alerting her parents.

Detectives reviewed her cellphone records as part of the investigation.

The teen told them that Mattingly had asked her on several occasions to keep the relationship a secret. According to her statements, he told her they eventually would become a couple, but they had to wait to tell people because, “otherwise it would look bad.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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