FOLLOWUP: Suspended West Seattle High School staffer charged with attempted commercial sexual abuse of a minor

Charges are now filed in the arrest first reported here Wednesday night, that of a now-suspended West Seattle High School instructional assistant accused of arranging online to meet a 14-year-old girl and pay her for sex. 34-year-old Brennan M. Smith, a Ballard resident, remains free after posting bond on $20,000 bail. He is charged with one count of attempted commercial sexual abuse of a minor. As noted in our previous report, he was arrested Tuesday night at a motel in Seatac. King County Sheriff’s Office detectives say he showed up there after communicating by text message with a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl and agreeing to pay “her” $150 for “unprotected sex.” They say the contact was initiated when Smith responded to “an online advertisement … on an escort-service website.” The charging document also said he was found to be in possession of $100 cash and the phone that was used to send text messages to arrange the encounter. In post-arrest questioning, the documents say, Smith claimed he had arranged the encounter because he had “helped prostitutes in the past in an attempt to help them out of the lifestyle. … Detectives asked Smith why he didn’t contact police for assistance if he thought a juvenile was in trouble; his response was he didn’t know and he thought he could just help on his own.” The district has described Smith only as an “instructional assistant”; his now-deleted LinkedIn profile said he was a “special education paraprofessional.” The district declined to answer questions including whether he was working at other schools besides WSHS. His arraignment is scheduled for December 26th.

20 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Suspended West Seattle High School staffer charged with attempted commercial sexual abuse of a minor"

  • HS December 13, 2019 (6:40 pm)

    I’m relieved to have read about, what I believe, is an increase in investigation and prosecution for minor / child sex trafficking. 

  • flimflam December 13, 2019 (7:58 pm)

     The district declined to answer questions including whether he was working at other schools besides WSHS”the “district” gets pretty tight lipped when needed…

  • Sillygoose December 14, 2019 (6:58 am)

    So clearly the school district isn’t doing back ground checks!! Why not? Doesn’t the safety of our children matter to you?

  • WSHS parent December 14, 2019 (11:28 am)

    And do we know of counseling and support for students who were in this guy’s orbit? This is not going down easy with students. Do we know if the District is investigating whether he was into anything with students he worked with at the school?  It’s strange that parents are not this information proactively.  

    • WSB December 14, 2019 (11:38 am)

      Those are questions I asked the district which so far they have declined to answer.

  • wsres December 14, 2019 (2:37 pm)

    So disgusting how many perverted men there are in the world. Sick on many levels.

    • West Seattle Lurker December 14, 2019 (9:10 pm)

      This was basically entrapment, rest easy. 

      • Um no December 15, 2019 (8:10 pm)

        “Basically entrapment”idk, it’d be pretty hard to get me, and probably most of the people I know, to agree to any of that in writing, in any possible case 

      • Hard defense... December 16, 2019 (4:52 pm)

        In order to use police entrapment as your defense, you have to prove that you would not have committed a crime unless you were completely misled by the police officer. (Your phone or e-mail started randomly receiving invitations from them). If the guy was frequenting illicit online spaces for contact with a minor, he’s not proving that he was entrapped, and no good attorney wants to use that defense unless they have it dead to rights. If they have text messages, e-mails or recorded phone conversations, he isn’t getting out of it with entrapment. 

  • Mj December 15, 2019 (9:48 am)

    wsres – it’s not just men there are perverted woman also!  

  • momosmom December 16, 2019 (1:15 pm)

    This is a terrible and disgusting thing that happens a in a lot of Cities and the POS’s don’t get caught… but what I find strange is that most of the commenters before this POS was even charged with anything there were 52 comments to hang him at the gallows by all the armchair prosecutors and now that he is charged there’s only 8 comments.

    • WSB December 16, 2019 (2:03 pm)

      Comment volume or lack of same doesn’t necessarily correlate to the merit or gravity of the story, trust me after 12+ years of seeing it … Without going back to count, for example, more than a few comments on the original story had to do with people’s opinions of the school principal, not the actual subject of the story.

  • WSHS parent December 16, 2019 (8:23 pm)

    WSB, the main thing is why families with students with disabilities have not heard from WSHS administration, whose only comment on record is basically ‘this has nothing to do with us.’ If this were a racial deal, WSHS would be making some gestures. Why the double standard when it comes to students with special needs. Who knows what this IA was doing in his coercive way with students he worked with, especially female students.  These are important questions, getting no answers. We assume the District is investigating these matters at WSHS. Parents ought to be contacted.

    • WSB December 16, 2019 (9:18 pm)

      The district declined to answer my questions along those lines, so it may come down to a PDR. No communication at ALL beyond the original letter to families?

      • WSHS parent December 16, 2019 (10:42 pm)

        That is correct, WSB: no communication at ALL beyond the original letter to families. 

    • All Valid... December 16, 2019 (9:48 pm)

      Your points are extremely valid. Our kids are younger, so not at the High school, but this story chills me to the bone. I highly encourage you to escalate your questions to the district level and demand answers. 

      • Chipowsky December 17, 2019 (4:31 am)

        The DISTRICT, not just the school, is declining all comment and that will include to parents. If there is an active investigation they will not comment and possibly compromise the investigation. Furthermore, the events in question did not happen on school grounds and did not, as far as is known here, involve students of WSHS. As of this moment SPS and WSHS bear no responsibility. They had no foreknowledge of the proclivities of the IA, they were not privy to information about the sting and there were no complaints from students or parents. Given all of these conditions how can the district or principal be responsible? What communications do you believe that the district owes you? If it’s  a criminal investigation what information do you believe that the district would be privy to that you imagine they are withholding? The police don’t generally comment on ongoing investigations anymore that the school district would.This idea of hanging the principal out to dry is ridiculous, and that goes for the district (and I have no love for SPS…or their robocaller).The capacity for passive-aggressive misplacement of responsibility in this town blows my mind. When one HS student rapes another at a party do you blame the school? How about when one OD’s on drugs or attempts/commits suicide? Are these the fault of the school? Again, this was an event that took place outside of school hours, off of school grounds and involved no students (as of this moment). IT’s wholly unreasonable to hold the school responsible even though he was am employee. Get a grip, (West) Seattle! Blame the perp, not the employer!

        • Carms December 18, 2019 (11:59 am)

          Yes to this comment! I work for the district in special education. I had a proper background check before being offered the position, as everyone does. An investigation is currently taking place, but all of the evidence is showing that this incident that obviously should not have happened is unrelated to school, school staff and the district. Proper procedures were followed when hiring him just like everyone else. 

  • WSHS parent December 16, 2019 (9:52 pm)

    WSB: no communication at all beyond the original letter and specifically none to families of students who this IA was in contact with (or assigned to, however it works). 

  • Upset December 19, 2019 (7:19 pm)

    Well, it’s not the district’s fault for hiring him. Predators know how to act and fake their way around.  Trust that. It’s all about catching that vibe from him on first meeting him. And I hope they fire him too. That’s why I strongly recommend cameras in the Special education classrooms. Cause these sickos are everywhere.  

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