CRIME WATCH: Families notified of former Seattle Public Schools employee’s arrest

Seattle Public Schools confirms this letter – shared with us by a Denny International Middle School parent – was sent to the school’s families tonight:

Dear Denny Middle School families:

This letter is being sent home to our families to share important information about a serious allegation and our commitment to student safety.

You are receiving this letter because the allegation is against an employee who worked or substituted at your child’s school between 2014-15 and 2017-18 school years. We have no information that anything happened in our school, but we want you to be aware.

This week, we were notified that a student at John Muir Elementary had allegedly been sexually assaulted last year by an instructional assistant. While the alleged assaults took place at John Muir Elementary, where the instructional assistant worked full time last year, the student did not tell their parents about it until last Friday. Thankfully, the family immediately contacted law enforcement.

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) began its investigation over the weekend. When the District received the information on Monday, it took swift action against the alleged perpetrator, Mr. Albert Virachismith, to prevent him from being in contact with students and restricted his access to any district property until the SPD criminal investigation is complete. He is not currently working in any Seattle schools. The District also started its own administrative investigation and is coordinating its efforts with the SPD. Last night, the SPD notified us that Mr. Albert Virachismith was placed under arrest and is in custody.

The SPD advised the District that detectives may need to talk to students as they continue to investigate. SPD Detective Anthony Belgarde has been assigned to this case, and I understand he will contact families directly before interviewing any students.

This is difficult news, and we understand you will want to talk to your child about this case. We want to do everything possible to help the police conduct a thorough investigation. The SPD asks parents to avoid asking leading questions that could interfere with the police investigation. If your student indicates on their own that he or she may have been touched inappropriately, contact Detective Belgarde at anthony.belgarde@seattle.gov.

The district is preparing additional information for our school for how to talk with your children about personal safety. Other resources you can access are the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center at 888-998-6423 and Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress for information and help at 206-744-1600. If you have questions or concerns, please share your contact information with our school’s front office.

According to the King County Jail Register, Albert Virachismith, who is 40 years old, was booked earlier today and is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, set at a probable-cause hearing earlier today, for investigation of child rape. We don’t have court documents from the hearing so we don’t yet know anything more about the case, aside from this district statement provided by spokesperson Kim Schmanke when we asked her about this tonight:

“Right now, our families are our priority. We are working to notify the families and staff where this individual has worked. These are disturbing allegations, and we are working closely with the Seattle Police Department. As soon as we were notified about the allegations, we barred Mr. Virachismith from taking any district jobs or being on school grounds. We are doing all we can to support a thorough SPD investigation.”

The suspect is due back in court next Tuesday, by which time a decision on charges will likely have been made.

5 Replies to "CRIME WATCH: Families notified of former Seattle Public Schools employee's arrest"

  • Denny/Sealth Parent February 3, 2018 (8:28 am)

    I spoke to Jeff Clark about this situation and he reported that the suspect was a substitute at Denny for only two days about a month ago and there were no incidents reported.   This letter was sent to any school the suspect was a substitute at.

  • newnative February 3, 2018 (2:17 pm)

    A Google of his name goes to an article from the Seattle PI from 2013 of a slideshow of wanted deadbeats that didn’t pay child support. Same age, shows a photo of him.  Pi story

    • WSB February 3, 2018 (2:20 pm)

      That was brought up by the person who e-mailed us. The story is four-plus years old and court files (which I checked last night before writing this) show the cases against him have long since been resolved.

      • Another denny parent February 4, 2018 (9:42 pm)

        Sorry. But in the letter sent to our emails on friday feb.2nd.it says that the incident happened one year ago ,and was just now reported.the child did not tell their parent until recently (maybe 2 weeks).maybe there were prior incidents.

        • WSB February 4, 2018 (10:19 pm)

          I was replying to the person who mentioned the 2013 “deadbeat parents” story they found mentioning the suspect, NOT related to the subject of the e-mail about the criminal allegation, the same e-mail that you received and that is republished in its entirety above and indeed says the alleged *crime* happened last year etc. Hoping to get more information from prosecutors tomorrow – this all broke after the close of business Friday so there was no way to find out much more.

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