Coaches who prey: Other cases of Washington coaches and sexual misconduct
Lakota Junior High School,
Federal Way School District
Girls at the junior high complained repeatedly in 1994 about Jensen, a volleyball coach and teacher. When he wasn't grabbing their buttocks, they said, he was massaging their shoulders and putting his hands too close to their breasts.
A school security guard, Micky Osburn, also complained in 1994 to the principal about Jensen touching her and the girls, but she was told not to bother because the teachers union would protect Jensen.
"Unless somebody can prove that Paul took some little girl's panties down or fondled her breasts, there will be no case," the principal said, according to a memo Osburn made of the conversation. The school did reprimand him for touching the players.
A year later, volleyball player Melissa Hatch complained that Jensen couldn't "keep his hands off" her and other girls. Another parent said her daughter's playing time was cut because she wouldn't let him touch her. Jensen was reprimanded again, but to little effect.
In 1996, after more students filed similar complaints, Federal Way fired him as a coach and transferred him to another school to teach.
Today, Jensen coaches for the Puget Sound Volleyball League, which charges about $1,600 per year to train female athletes, ages 12 to 18, for regional and national competition.
Jensen said he was only trying to "be supportive" and did nothing wrong.
Hatch isn't buying it: "I don't think he should be coaching."
Timberline High School,
North Thurston School District
When the wrestling coach and psychology teacher developed a sexual relationship with 17-year-old student Rhea Hernandez in 1991, she said the school ignored all the warning signs of abuse.
"We walked to class together," she said. "We went from gym to classroom to lunchroom. The gym teacher caught him rubbing my shoulders and that should have been a red flag."
One teacher saw Ford "straddling" Hernandez in the restroom, but his personnel file at Timberline High School shows no follow-up on the complaint.
The sexual relationship ended after the girl's sister went to police because Ford had made sexual advances to her, as well.
Ford wasn't charged, but the district fired him. Rhea Hernandez became pregnant, and a paternity test proved he was the father.
Newport High School,
Newport School District
On Sept. 1, 1998, Idaho authorities suspended teacher-coach Milionis from teaching for one year after investigating him for having sex with a 14-year-old girl on his basketball team.
But a week later, Milionis was back in public schools, this time in Washington as a counselor and basketball coach for the Oroville School District in Okanogan County.
"Steve basically just got a slap on the hand and was able to go teach somewhere else," said Dody Stewart, who said he sexually exploited her for four years and she hasn't fully recovered from the abuse.
Washington didn't find out about the Idaho suspension until early 1999, when Idaho finally notified a national clearinghouse of teacher-license suspensions and revocations. While Idaho determined Milionis was unfit for the classroom, the Washington superintendent's office allowed him to teach, putting him on probation.
After coaching for two years in Oroville, he landed a coaching and counseling job with the Newport School District, 50 miles from Spokane. Recently, the Newport district suspended Milionis while it investigated whether he lied about his prior record on his job application.
Yelm High School,
Yelm School District
Girls on the volleyball team complained in 1997 that coach Fiser constantly touched and flirted with them. But during an investigation, the district turned up far worse conduct.
He had sexual relationships with two 16-year-old girls, one playing on Yelm's fastpitch softball team, the other on a volleyball team in Tumwater where he had coached earlier, according to police reports and court testimony.
At first, the two girls didn't consider themselves victims. "I thought I was special," said volleyball player Kanya Sarapanich. Soon, however, she started feeling shame, but she kept it secret for three years.
Then Sarapanich learned Fiser had been arrested for having sex with the 16-year-old Yelm athlete he had coached.
Although the statute of limitations prevented authorities from pressing charges in Sarapanich's case, she testified for the other athlete. Fiser was convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor in 1998 and surrendered his teaching certificate in 1999.
Reached for comment, Fiser said he didn't want to "rehash" the issue.
Federal Way High School,
Federal Way School District
Despite repeated complaints that boys basketball coach Collins was touching and sexually harassing girls, he continues to coach and teach.
Collins was reprimanded in 1994 for "slapping female students on the buttocks and inappropriate joking with female students" and had to undergo training on how to interact appropriately with girls.
In 1999, a sophomore who kept statistics for his team filed a complaint with the school, saying Collins constantly asked her to kiss him, said he wanted to see her naked, rubbed her stomach and kissed her.
A lawyer for the district's human-resources office determined that the student was credible and that Collins should be fired. Further warnings or a suspension would be "inadequate corrective response in light of the prior warning."
But district officials chose not to fire him and considered lesser discipline.
Collins fought that effort. His union lawyer subpoenaed the girl's mental-health records, grades and attendance records.
The school did not punish Collins, citing difficulty in "sustaining termination or other disciplinary action."
Garver, a softball coach for an elite team, was last seen with 16-year-old Michelle "Mimi" Smith on Sept. 26 and is wanted by the FBI for kidnapping.
According to Beaverton police, family members believe Garver, 38, began a sexual relationship with the sophomore while she played on his team, the Aloha Angels, which placed third in a tri-state tournament this year in Spokane.
When she was 13, the girl was sexually abused by Garver's assistant coach, Dean Meier, who pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse in 1998. Because of an unstable home, the girl moved in with Garver and his family and lived there nearly two years before they disappeared, police said.
Anyone with information can call Beaverton Police at 503-350-4099 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.
David L. Olson
Pioneer Middle School,
Steilacoom Historical School District
In 1995, the mother of a 13-year-old girl found several love notes in her daughter's desk from Olson, her 37-year-old teacher and track coach. "Every time you look (my) way, I would lay down my life for you," he wrote. "I am always here and I love you."
He had been reprimanded a month earlier for embracing the girl after school. After seeing the letters, the school district suspended him, then reached an agreement: If he resigned, officials wouldn't tell prospective employers about his misconduct.
The school sent a sexual-misconduct complaint to the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for investigation, but the love letters sat in OSPI's files for two years before the agency contacted the victim.
Three months after talking to her, the OSPI dropped the case because Olson's teaching license had expired. Through a lawyer, Olson said he did nothing wrong and had only been professing Christian love for the girl.
Examples of schools that poorly investigated a coach or hired him despite knowing about his past
Charles "C.J." Jungblom
Davenport High School,
Davenport School District
For years, this basketball coach and counselor passed out modeling contracts to struggling female students that offered top dollar for sexually explicit photos and videos.
About a dozen teachers, students and parents complained to school administrators about the contracts and other misconduct, but they didn't stop Jungblom. School Superintendent David Iverson told one mother that she "was wrongfully accusing" Jungblom and that an investigation would "further malign (his) character," according to court records.
In 1993, that mother found out her daughter had made a sexually explicit video for the coach, but this time, the mother went to federal authorities. Jungblom pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor in 1994 and was sentenced to 57 months in prison.
The girl and her family sued the school district for ignoring complaints about Jungblom and allowing him to prey on students. The district reached a $5 million settlement with this family and one other victim, Alicia Quintana.
Today, Quintana is still suffering.
"I've fought anorexia off and on for probably 15 years now," she said. "In seventh grade it got really bad. I remember my grandmother sitting on the couch saying, 'Please eat,' crying to me ... "
Jungblom said in an interview that he is collecting retirement benefits and umpiring girls and adult softball games.
Ronald "Dean" Stainbrook
Auburn High School, Auburn School District
Washington High School, Franklin Pierce School District
As track and cross-country coach at Auburn, Stainbrook had a history of sexual-misconduct complaints from 1994 to 1996. Girls on his teams complained of unwanted touching, and he was reprimanded twice by Auburn officials.
Stainbrook left the school and was hired as a coach in 1998 by the Franklin Pierce School District, even though it knew of his misconduct. Before he started work, district officials warned him not to repeat the behaviors that got him in trouble in Auburn.
But girls on the Washington High track team told district officials that Stainbrook grabbed their buttocks and stared at their breasts. When girls did stretches, he positioned himself between their legs or up against their bodies, according to school records.
"He was choosing (a certain girl) and put his face in her crotch," during stretches, said then-assistant track coach Chad Lee, who reported Stainbrook to the principal.
Stainbrook left the school in May 2000 after being told he was no longer needed as cross-country coach. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) reprimanded Stainbrook in 2001 for the misconduct.
Lee said Stainbrook's teaching license "should be revoked and burned 15 times. He shouldn't be around any kids."
Highline High School,
Highline School District
While patrolling behind a grade school at 1:40 a.m. in October 1997, a Des Moines police officer discovered soccer coach Hayashi with a 15-year-old girl, hiding under a blanket in the back of his Ford Explorer.
Police later were given love letters written by the 45-year-old coach to the girl, who played on his soccer team, and to other students.
Police also learned that Kathy Foley, a school administrative assistant, had warned school officials earlier that Hayashi was developing what she believed were inappropriately close relationships with several students.
Foley said Highline school officials didn't investigate her complaint from the mid-1990s; Hayashi's file also gives no indication that school officials pursued Foley's complaint.
The girl's parents obtained a restraining order to keep the coach away from her, but the girl was reluctant to cooperate with police. She and Hayashi denied a physical relationship, and no charges were filed.
Hayashi resigned as English teacher and coach in January 1998.
Three years later, the OSPI concluded its investigation and determined it had cause to revoke his license for "lack of good moral character" and "unprofessional conduct, including acts of immorality."
Hayashi surrendered his license voluntarily.
Examples of how the state drops or drags out investigations
David F. Spray
Dayton High School,
Dayton School District
The football coach admitted he had hugged and kissed the team's 17-year-old manager and bought her flowers, a championship ring and a jacket.
Spray's conduct led then-Superintendent Steve Chestnut to conclude that the coach "has engaged in an inappropriate and exploitive relationship with a female high-school student," according to Chestnut's 1996 complaint to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI.) "My investigation revealed an inappropriate romantic-type of relationship."
Chestnut gave the OSPI the district's file on its investigation, including interviews with Spray, the girl and witnesses.
For three years, the OSPI did little with the complaint, records show. In 1999, it dismissed the complaint without explanation.
Before that, the district reached an agreement with Spray: Instead of firing him, it paid him $15,000 in 1996 to quit "based on what was best for the school district," Chestnut said.
"I made a mistake," Spray, 47, said. "It's something I'm not proud of. I wasn't trying to seduce her."
He is a physical-education teacher and assistant football coach at Pasco High School in southeastern Washington.
Robert D. Shaw
Ellensburg High School,
Ellensburg School District
After a 14-year-old girl complained that the football coach put her head in his lap, caressed her lips and nuzzled her, Ellensburg passed the case on to the OSPI in 1996.
Records show the school was in the process of firing Shaw, 33, because of a history of touching female students inappropriately and making sexual comments, but he resigned.
Over the next five years, the OSPI conducted no interviews with students, teachers or Shaw, its files show, using district information instead.
Meanwhile, Shaw moved to Idaho, where he worked in two school districts from 1998 to 2001.
In July 2001, the OSPI suspended Shaw's teaching license for two years after he admitted "he engaged in inappropriate conversation and physical contact with a female student."
Though Shaw was not allowed to teach, Yelm High School hired him as a football coach and assistant boys basketball coach in 2001. He still works there.
Joseph C. Morrison
Kalles Junior High,
Puyallup School District
A love note the football coach wrote to a seventh-grade girl was so alarming that Principal Pam Galloway immediately removed him from the classroom.
"It is so frustrating to see you and not be able to show how much I love you," Morrison wrote to the 13-year-old in January 2000.
The OSPI investigated him, obtaining statements from school officials over the next several months.
"I now have no doubt in my mind that Joe Morrison was grooming youngsters," Galloway stated. "He seemed to focus on several girls and to keep them vying for his attention.
"He lacks the good moral character" to be a teacher.
The file contains few entries after that. In March 2002, the state dismissed the case when Morrison's teaching license expired. The OSPI never decided whether he was fit to teach.
He can apply for a new license in Washington or elsewhere.
The girl, now in high school, said he should have been barred from teaching. "If he goes back to teaching and there's another girl that he starts writing letters to and then it turns out to be more, then she gets hurt in a bigger way," she said.
Examples of the wide-open world of club coaches and how some victims are doubted
Arlington Taekwondo School,
Parents paid hundreds of dollars a month for their children to attend the Arlington Taekwondo School but missed the warning signs about Novy, the owner. (The school has since been sold.) He touched the girls inappropriately and spent time with them outside the gym.
For several years, Novy got away with molesting three of his top students. "No one wanted to see it," said Mollie Bryan, 23, one of the victims. "There were tons of adults who never wanted to believe it."
When demonstrating martial-arts moves, "he'd 'accidentally' put his hand in your shirt in front of all these people, but he'd turn you away," she said. "My dad would be there and my brother and they'd never see it."
Novy, who opened his gym in 1992, frequently took the girls to regional competitions. Shortly after Bryan joined the gym, he started abusing her.
"He was totally pressuring me," she said.
"I didn't have my first kiss until I was 16, but I was having sex by the time I was 14."
Cori Logan, a victim at 15, said many people suspected Novy of possible wrongdoing but didn't say a word. The mentality among parents at the highly competitive academy was "you don't talk about it, don't report it," said Logan, now 26.
Logan said her parents and others could have done more to protect the girls at Novy's gym. "My mom was snowed over and my dad suspected but didn't ask," Logan said.
Even after Novy was charged with child molestation, some parents continued to support him.
Novy pleaded guilty in 1998 to molesting Bryan, Logan and another girl. He also admitted to a counselor that he had as many as 15 victims, one as young as 9 years old, according to court files.
Yet the file is full of letters of praise for the coach. A mother with two sons who were trained by Novy wrote to the sentencing judge: "Even with the trouble Jon is now in, I would not hesitate for one second to have them train under Jon Novy. I trust him that much."
Club soccer coach,
Today nothing prevents Gutierrez — a registered sex offender — from starting his own soccer team again.
Gutierrez started his own club soccer team, the Blue Jays, in the mid-1980s. What people didn't know was he had been convicted of molesting a 14-year-old baby-sitter in 1978.
Gutierrez used the team to attract four victims, including a 9-year-old who loved to play soccer.
"He gave me love and attention that I was missing from my father," the victim, now 33, said. "At age 9 you don't know what's right and wrong, it was a slow grooming process."
When the girl reported the abuse, which she said took place over several years, Gutierrez threatened to kill her. Players on the team and students lashed out, calling her a whore and a liar, she said.
In 1987, Gutierrez pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent liberties and was sentenced to 7 ½ years for having sex with several girls on his Marysville soccer team, one as young as 6 years old.
At his sentencing, the judge said Gutierrez used his own daughter, who played on the soccer team, "as a snare and decoy" to lure potential victims.
Dennis A. Jones
Blackhills Football Club,
As a club soccer coach, then 35-year-old Jones started romancing one of his players when she was 15. But he waited until shortly after her 16th birthday before having sex with her in 1999.
When the girl went to police a few years later, authorities had no doubts about her story, but a quirk in the law saved Jones from facing trial for a sex crime.
Since 2001, it has been a crime in Washington for a school employee to have sex with a student under 18. But for coaches who work outside of schools, having sex with a player between 16 and 18 is only a crime if the coach abuses his authority to coerce his victim, either through favors or threats.
In this case, there was no direct proof that Jones abused his authority over the girl — although she and her parents believe she was grossly manipulated. Jones pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault last year, the highest charge prosecutors could prove.
"I am disturbed because I believe that Dennis Jones knew the law and waited until I was 16 years old to have sexual intercourse with me," the victim said in a statement to the judge. "He began manipulating me when I was 15."
— By Christine Willmsen and Maureen O'Hagan, Seattle Times staff
Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company