5:36 PM: A former JV girls-basketball coach at West Seattle High School is charged with “communicating with a minor for immoral purposes” via online messaging. Seattle Public Schools tells WSB the former coach, 28-year-old Michael D. Gutierrez, was fired in February, 10 days after the school learned about the allegations. Here’s what the charging document alleges:
The defendant engaged a student-athlete he coached in (in)appropriate sexual communication in electronic communication and in person. The defendant kissed the girl and also grabbed, or spanked her bottom on a number of occasions.
The probable-cause document on file says an assistant principal discovered two students, now both 17, having been “inappropriately contacted” via social media. One victim said Gutierrez had been contacting her via Snapchat since 2017, with remarks including saying he wanted to stay in a hotel with her and wanted to have kids with her. Then, she told police, he invited her to come practice at the gym several times last summer, saying other students would be there, but she turned out to be the only one. This past January, she said, he asked her to come into an office for a “grade review” but instead touched her and tried to get her to kiss him.
Here’s the statement we obtained late today from Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tim Robinson:
When SPS learned of the allegations of inappropriate comments and behavior by an adult hourly coach, we immediately contacted Seattle Police on Feb. 15, 2019.
That same day, SPS released the adult from all coaching responsibilities until the outcome of an internal investigation was completed.
On February 25, 2019 (the Monday after mid-winter break), SPS terminated the individual’s employment. The individual was a part-time coach. The individual was not a teacher, counselor, etc.
Court records show the charge was filed against Gutierrez this past Monday. It was first reported by KIRO TV this afternoon (thanks to the reader who pointed that out via the WSB Community Forum so we could research and confirm). The court documents also say Gutierrez has no criminal record. He is not in custody but the charging documents say that if he does not appear for arraignment, scheduled for July 1st, an arrest warrant will be issued.
ADDED 7:43 PM: WSHS principal Brian Vance has just sent email to families about this, and a parent forwarded it to us. Here’s what he wrote:
The safety and security of our students is our number one priority and we have systems in place to minimize incidents. However, sometimes the professional standards that we expect are not met. Our school was mentioned in the media today regarding a former assistant coach and I wanted to make sure our community had a little more information.
In February right before mid-winter break, it was reported that one of our hourly coaches, Mike Gutierrez, was accused of inappropriate conduct with students this school year. He was immediately restricted from student contact and was no longer allowed on any district property. Families of students who were directly impacted were promptly notified. The district Title IX Coordinator and the Human Resources department, along with the Seattle Police Department, were notified of the report.
The decision was made to end Mr. Gutierrez’s employment with Seattle Public Schools. As of February, Mr. Gutierrez is no longer an SPS employee and will not be part of the West Seattle Basketball program in the future, however we now know that Mr. Gutierrez continued to attempt to communicate with students after the end of his employment with Seattle Public Schools. Today we learned that King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has criminally charged Mr. Gutierrez for his conduct.
Our staff, including counseling staff, have been and will continue to work to ensure we are providing appropriate support to our students. Counseling staff at WSHS will be available at the school until June 21. Additionally, we are providing the contact information for agencies in our community as a resource if you would like to discuss any general questions regarding this topic: King County Sexual Assault Resource Center at (888) 998-6423 or Harborview Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress Center at 206-744-1600.
If you have questions, please contact me via email, email@example.com or 206-252-8800.