CRIME WATCH: Former West Seattle High School coach charged with ‘inappropriate sexual communication’ with student-athlete

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, or 206-252-8800.  

28 Replies to "CRIME WATCH: Former West Seattle High School coach charged with 'inappropriate sexual communication' with student-athlete"

  • Concerned WSHS Parent June 20, 2019 (6:34 pm)

    >>One victim said Gutierrez had been contacting her via Snapchat since 2017…So, this sleaze bag was coaching these female students, and for 2+ years was contacting them in this way – and no one noticed? Why am I not surprised? I am not surprised because the current AD  is not competent in fulfilling his duties, and hires his friends as coaches. He is in way over his head, and should have been fired after his first year. Couple that with a hands off principal who does not believe in accountability for any staff at WSHS, is ineffectual in carrying out his duties, and this is the result. You should meet some of the coaches at this school – I have, and they are not individuals I would want coaching my juveniles. Clean house from top to bottom and demand accountability. And these young women and their families need to obtain legal counsel.

    • WSB June 20, 2019 (6:55 pm)

      According to the probable-cause document, “The school’s Athletic Director Corey Sorenson confirmed that on 3/30/2018 he learned that Gutierrez was communicating with students via social media and that Gutierrez was later informed about his policy violation.” There are no details about what the school knew at that time about the nature of the social-media communication and I didn’t have the court documents when we obtained the statement from the SPS spokesperson so my followup questions tomorrow will include what discipline if any Gutierrez received at that time. -TR

    • Concerned WSHS Student June 20, 2019 (7:27 pm)

      Why did it go on so long before noticing?There’s been a lot about WSHS on this week. SO CRAZY

      • Scared student June 21, 2019 (9:58 am)

        I know it’s so crazy so many people being threatened cops everywhere someone even attacked me and my brother on school grounds this year and the school did nothing now they saying this went on for 2+ years, there’s something really wrong here 

        • Concerned WSHS Student June 21, 2019 (7:34 pm)

          No kidding. Hope you are ok after you got attacked. It’s crazy how oblivous our staff/ admin is

  • Admiral Mom June 20, 2019 (8:04 pm)

    This is infuriating. The teen years are hard. Kids do not need to have to deal with this type of trauma. My heart goes out to the families involved. Take care of yourselves and then demand accountability. SPS Human Resources has made some serious mistakes and exposed our kids to all kinds of danger.

  • Parent of Female Alum June 20, 2019 (9:49 pm)

    WSHS had the opportunity to hire a different coach in 2015 and WSHS administration decided to listen to parents who wanted to bring in their AAU guy. This is what happens when an administration allows influential parents to make decisions for them. These parents have NO right to decide for all athletes when their focus is on only their own. Those girls did not deserve what they have been subjected too, not by the head coach down. Previous post is absolutely correct clean house and it starts with the district AD. Cannot believe these babies were subjected to this on behalf of all previous WSHS athletes I apologize your administration your coaches should have done better by YOU!!! There is NO excuse for this behavior. DO BETTER, DISGUSTING!!!!

  • Emma June 20, 2019 (10:27 pm)

    As the parent of a WSHS student, I am saddened by this and my heart goes out to these students and their families. And, I am also angry, because my family has witnessed firsthand what happens when you have incompetency coupled with lack of oversight and supervision in high school athletics – you get absolutely no accountability. In my opinion, this culture at WSHS is directly responsible for this awful outcome. Both the principal and the athletic coordinator need to lose their jobs – yesterday. This community needs to demand answers and action from the District.

  • Hmmmm June 20, 2019 (11:08 pm)

    I don’t think this is the forum to deal with these issues. Horrible situation? Absolutely. Take that energy to the district and demand action. Thank you West Seattle Blog for this update as I have 2 students there as well. There are plenty of jobs at the district if anyone wants to put in an application.  

  • dsa June 20, 2019 (11:41 pm)

    I am not supporting his initial hiring, but did note Tracy’s original observation that “The court documents also say Gutierrez has no criminal record.”   That may soon change, but give the school bashing a break for a bit.

  • WW Resident June 21, 2019 (7:47 am)

    What is it with WSHS coaches?  When I went there in the late 80’s to 1990, there was a coach there that I will not name, that was a complete pervert and in today’s world would have been fired and arrested.Anyone who went there about the same time I did knows exactly who I’m talking about because it was well known

  • Emma June 21, 2019 (8:15 am)

    Hmmmm writes: “I don’t think this is the forum to deal with these issues.”Really?  A local blog, covering local issues is not the place to cover and discuss criminal sexual conduct by a local high school coach? Folks here should certainly be able to discuss these issues here first, and I assume many will voice their concerns at the district level as well.  And no, community members shouldn’t have to “put in an application” at SPS to address issues at their local schools-what nonsense.

  • T Rex June 21, 2019 (8:21 am)

    This situation is a lesson for parents as well. KNOW what your kids are doing on social media! Monitor it, question it, talk about it  and end it if you need to. This guy is a creep. He should NEVER be allowed to work at any school ever again.

  • WSHS June 21, 2019 (9:08 am)

    Disgusting!!whoever recommended Mike should be reprimanded from the coaching job too…it takes one to know one…this young teens are not an item to be bullied by these coaches…sexting and showering with gifts are just the starting of trying to lure this young innocent teens for S..!!Get a Life!!  

  • Russell June 21, 2019 (9:34 am)

    A big piece of this is the completely inadequate FLASH program that SPS provides. The moment the first student received an inappropriate touch or text, they could have recognized the behaviour of a sexual predator and notified all of the appropriate authorities. There should be a mandatory, semester long Health Class taught in 6th grade at the beginning of middle school, and another in 9th grade at the beginning of high school. And it should be taught by trained professionals, not science teachers.

    • Actual Teacher June 21, 2019 (10:58 am)

       Inappropriate touch and text is covered in the unit on healthy relationships way before you get to FLASH. Plus, FLASH is taught by trained professionals (teachers) supplemented by community resources and the latest research on safer sex and sexual assault prevention  in 9th grade and it is a mandatory semester long health class…but whatever…you know best. 

      • Actual Alum June 21, 2019 (12:32 pm)

        They did not go over the dangers/red flags of potientally being groomed by adults you’re supposed to be able to trust. FLASH was far from adequate. 

        • SLJ June 21, 2019 (2:22 pm)

           An email went out to parents a couple of months ago to be a part of the district’s reproductive health task force, which was open to anyone affiliated with the school (parent, community member, student, teacher).  Reach out to them–they may have more space and you can be involved.  It frustrates me a bit when people are upset about a situation and complain to friends and the blog, but don’t take steps to do anything about it.  There are many reasons that someone doesn’t want to or can’t be on the task force, but the time commitment is minimal and is after typical work hours.  This may not be possible for you, but I mean this as a general comment to those who are concerned about FLASH as it is taught now. Regarding the hiring of this particular individual, he had no police record–he wouldn’t have been flagged in any way. 

    • Concerned WSHS Student June 21, 2019 (7:37 pm)

      we have a semester long health class in 9th grade at WSHS, but it doesn’t go into this at all

  • Concerned WSHS Parent June 21, 2019 (3:01 pm)

    SLJ writes: “Regarding the hiring of this particular individual, he had no police record–he wouldn’t have been flagged in any way. ” Did you even read the charging documents and background? He had been harassing one of the girls since 2017. And the school AD knew there was inappropriate  contact in 2018. If those aren’t flags, I don’t know what are.  As for FLAG, my child described it as a complete joke.

    • Concerned WSHS Parent June 21, 2019 (4:30 pm)

      “As for FLASH…” And, don’t assume community WSBlog members and parents aren’t involved in their communities and schools, I am and know many on here and elsewhere who are; that was presumptuous and condescending.

  • B-Ball Bill June 22, 2019 (11:24 am)

    So glad to have a stand up guy like Coach Kriley @ the helm now…

    • WSB June 22, 2019 (12:08 pm)

      Just to be clear, he’s the boys’ head coach. The former coach in this case was part of the girls’ program.

  • Nw mama June 22, 2019 (4:59 pm)

    Who does said athletic director report to?  Principal? District AD? I agree that this guy/gal needs to go down with this coach.  Totally unacceptable. 

  • Concerned WSHS Parent June 22, 2019 (7:34 pm)

    The school AD reports to the principal ultimately, but is supervised most of the time by a vice principal who oversees athletics – not sure who that is here. The AD coordinates scheduling and other things with the District AD and other athletic organizations in the region and state. I agree NW Mama, the WSHS AD needs to go, and perhaps the principal and/or vp.

    • WSHS student June 24, 2019 (12:38 pm)

      The AD does need to be removed , He doesn’t do his job right as a athlete at WSHS!

  • Junction Lady June 22, 2019 (8:12 pm)

    Disgustingly sad.

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