A Deer Park Junior High teacher and recent “Teacher of the Month” is under investigation for allegedly molesting students during the 1970s, when he was a school principal in Philipsburg, Mont.
William A. Martin of Chattaroy is accused of forcing one student to participate in anal and oral sex, and threatening him not to tell.
Martin also allegedly attempted to molest another student and offered others beer and marijuana.
An anonymous telephone call from a man claiming to be one of the teacher’s victims prompted the Deer Park school district to investigate, said Superintendent Glenys Hill.
There is no evidence of misconduct by Martin while in Deer Park, Hill said.
Martin quit his Deer Park teaching job earlier this month as the district took steps to fire him.
“We wanted to send a message we won’t tolerate any sexual misconduct even though it was 17 years ago and in another district,” Hill said.
The state superintendent’s office of professional practices is investigating and may yank Martin’s teaching license.
Martin’s attorney, John Cooney of Spokane, said his client would not comment. Martin has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached.
The Deer Park district suspended Martin with pay June 21 as it hired a private investigator to look into the charges. As the evidence came in, the district moved to fire him.
Hired in September 1986, Martin’s top-scale salary was $46,740 a year.
He was named “Teacher of the Month” last September by an Eastern Washington University recognition program. A female student wrote in her nomination letter that Martin paid for the repair of her flute.
“There is no particular profile or type of teacher these allegations are levied against,” said Spokane attorney Paul Clay, who handles teacher misconduct cases for a number of school districts including Deer Park. “It can be a very well-liked teacher or a teacher the district has been having problems with for years.”
Clay praised the Deer Park district for its response.
“Rather than ignore the anonymous call, they took it very seriously,” he said.
There is no statute of limitations in teacher-discharge cases in Washington, Clay said. The fact the alleged misconduct happened in another state also does not lessen the severity.
A teacher-student scandal rocked Deer Park five years ago, and people still remember, Hill said.
Former student Michelle Bratton sued her former softball coach Trey Calkins over a sexual relationship they had in the mid-1980s. Witnesses told during the 1991 civil trial about a half-dozen teacher-student relationships.
Bratton won her suit.