Suspended Sentence for Former Mattawa Teacher in Student Sexual Assault
A former Career and Technical Education instructor at Wahluke High School has accepted what's called an In Re Barr plea in connection with sexual activity he had with a 17-year-old male student in 2016.
46-year-old Michael Smith of Wenatchee was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor after the May, 2016 encounter.
Officials investigated after hearing rumors of an encounter between an instructor and a teen. The victim told investigators he met a man, who turned out to be Smith, via an online site for bi-sexual and homosexual men. The site helps connect people, and the teen told officials he had set up an encounter, according to the Columbia Basin Herald.
The two had agreed to meet up on May 25th, and Smith convinced the victim to wear a blindfold during the encounter. However, a friend of the victim showed up during the incident, and Smith fled, but not before the friend got a good look at him.
The victim confronted Smith the next day at school, and the teacher admitted he was the person with him.
The In Re Barr plea means Smith is not admitting to the charges, and there is no factual basis for them, but admits if it went to trial there is substantial risk he could be convicted. He received a suspended sentence to Fourth Degree Assault charges during his hearing this week in Grant County Superior Court.
Smith resigned his teaching position at Wahluke High School after the initial charges were filed last year.