2nd Teacher Suspended, Investigated Ex-Student Claims Liberty Wrestling Coach Had Sexual Relationship With Her 18 Years Ago
A wrestling coach at Liberty High School is the second teacher suspended with pay after former students reported having had sexual contact with the teachers between 1977 and 1980.
Doug Gordon, who has taught at Liberty at Spangle for nearly 20 years, is accused by a former student of having had a sexual relationship with her in the 1977-78 school year.
Gordon was suspended Oct. 30, the same day a Spokane School District 81 teacher was suspended with pay in the same case.
Richard Trudgeon, girls basketball coach at Lewis and Clark High School, is on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
Trudgeon, a former teacher at Liberty High, is accused by two former students of having had sexual relationships with them from 1978 to 1980. He left the Liberty School District in 1991 to take the job in Spokane, where he is earning $46,700 a year.
School officials said the same former student came forward recently and claimed to have had sexual relationships with the two teachers.
They would not say why the former student, now in her 30s, had waited so long to make the claims.
Attorney Bill Powell, who is representing Gordon, said his client denies the allegations.
“It is very curious that this comes up 18 years after the alleged incidents,” Powell said.
According to public records, Gordon has been implicated in sexual misconduct with other students and in offering to supply beer during a school-related activity in the 1978-79 school year.
Liberty Superintendent Donn Livoni filed letters of complaint against Gordon and Trudgeon with the state superintendent of public instruction in Olympia on Oct. 30, and the agency has started investigating.
Those letters were made public following separate requests from The Spokesman-Review. The names of the former students were blacked out on copies sent to the newspaper.
The state has the authority to revoke the teachers’ certificates, which allow them to teach in state schools.
Paul Clay, attorney for the Liberty School District, said separate investigations are being conducted by the two school districts to determine whether the teachers should be fired or disciplined.
“Both Spokane and Liberty treat these allegations seriously,” Clay said. “The investigation is going to be thorough and it’s going to look at finding out what actually happened.”
Clay refused to discuss whether any other former students have come forward since the initial complaint was made. He also declined to say if there is any evidence indicating that Trudgeon and Gordon were working in consort in developing the alleged relationships with the students.