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Ferris student won’t face charge for filing false report

Authorities say girl who accused coach of rape needs counseling, not a record

A 16-year-old girl who lied to investigators about being raped by the Ferris High School boys’ basketball coach will not be charged with making a false report, officials said Friday.

The coach, Don Van Lierop, was cleared Thursday after the girl told police she made up the story.

Authorities decided not to charge the girl because “she just turned 16, and she would be better off to go to counseling than end up with a juvenile record,” said Spokane police Lt. Dave McGovern.

Police can bill people who make false reports for the expense of the investigation, but McGovern said there was no plan to do that in this case.

Van Lierop returned to the classroom and basketball court Friday after two weeks on paid administrative leave.

He issued a statement Friday through his lawyer:

“The past two weeks of my life, and the life of my family, can only be described as a person’s worst nightmare. Any husband, father, coach or teacher can only imagine what a person and his family go through when falsely accused of this kind of conduct.”

The girl told police Nov. 5 that Van Lierop had raped her at her home when she was a student and a basketball player at Ferris last school year.

But the teenager’s lawyers, Jeff and Scott Morris, determined the accusation was untrue, according to a statement issued Thursday by the Morris brothers and Van Lierop’s lawyer, Kevin Curtis.

The girl’s family apologized to Van Lierop and his family and said the girl is seeking counseling.

“I must thank all of my family, friends, colleagues, parents and students for their support and belief in me throughout this nightmare. It has been hard on all of them to have gone through this ordeal with me,” Van Lierop said in his statement.

“Fortunately, they all know the kind of person I am, and they knew from the moment the allegations surfaced that there was no truth to any of them.”

Van Lierop’s attorney said no decision has been made about whether to sue the girl and her family.

Jody Lawrence-Turner can be reached at (509) 459-5593 or jodyl@spokesman.com.


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