Teacher's aide faces sexual misconduct inquiry
By KIMBERLY A.C. WILSON - REPORTER SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
Saturday, June 3, 2000
A 49-year-old teacher's aide from Tacoma is under investigation for
allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old special education student.
Federal Way police and Pierce County sheriff's deputies, acting on a
tip from Child Protective Services, questioned the woman Friday
morning and searched her home north of Tacoma.
Officers carted off bedding, credit card receipts and personal
belongings, including the woman's Jeep.
No charges have been filed in the case, according to King County
Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donohoe.
Federal Way police Detective Jim Lindsay confirmed the investigation
was continuing but declined to provide any specifics.
Sources close to the case, however, described a relationship that
bears striking similarities to the highly-publicized pairing of
former Highline School District teacher Mary K. Letourneau and Vili
Fualaau, her former grade-school student.
Letourneau, 38, is serving a 7 1/2-year prison sentence for having
sex in 1997 with Fualaau, then 13. She bore him two children.
She and Fualaau continue to assert their relationship was "true
love," although Fualaau, who will turn 17 later this month, recently
sued the school district and the city of Des Moines for $1 million
for failing to protect him from the sexual advances of his former
In the Federal Way case, the woman under investigation allegedly took
her 15-year-old student on snowboarding vacations and to area hotels
and motels for sex.
Attempts to reach the woman were unsuccessful yesterday.
The victim, a troubled teenager with a police record, began acting
out violently during the six months he was reportedly involved with
the teacher's aide, sources said.
It was unclear yesterday how long the woman, who acted as the teen's
unofficial guardian at several of his Juvenile Court appearances, has
taught in the Federal Way School District.
Assistant Superintendent Mark Davidson declined to comment on the
investigation. The teacher's aide worked at Sacajawea Junior High
School until March, when she was transferred to another school in
the district, sources said.
On May 12, the woman was placed on administrative leave pending an
investigation of unprofessional conduct and was ordered to stay away
from the boy, the sources said.
A few days later, Federal Way police learned the boy frequently
stayed overnight at the woman's home. When questioned, the boy
claimed the two had sex regularly during the past school year.
Last week, investigators interviewed the woman.
When she was questioned again yesterday, officers took photographs
of an "irregularity" on a private part of her body that the teen had
identified to investigators.
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