March 23, 2010 in City

School counselor faces prison for molesting a student

The Spokesman-Review
 

COLVILLE – A longtime psychologist for the Colville School District, who also volunteered with police to help investigate child abuse, pleaded guilty Tuesday to molesting one of his students and attempting to molest another.

Craig L. Figley, 59, of Colville, could be sent to prison for the rest of his life, though prosecutors will recommend he be ordered to serve about 13 years behind bars when he is sentenced May 10.

“We have concerns about other victims,” Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said. “We very much hope these were the (only) two.”

In addition to the first-degree child molestation charges, Figley pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. Images of young boys were found on his school computer, and his home computer contained images of young boys engaged in sex.

The mother of one of the victims said she wants justice for her child.

“This man has been in the school system for 30 years. You don’t wake up one day and decide you are a pervert,” the mother said. “That’s my concern is that there are other victims.”

Rasmussen said that the plea agreement allows authorities to bring additional charges if new victims are discovered.

Figley was a member of a multi-disciplinary team that helped coordinate law enforcement investigations of child abuse.

“Because of his position he had access and knowledge to vulnerable children,” Rasmussen said.

According to court records, Stevens County Sheriff’s detectives interviewed the 11-year-old victim, who said he had been staying at Figley’s house and sleeping with Figley in his bed.

In addition to purchasing the boy toys and video games, Figley showed the boy images and videos of persons and children having sex, the 11-year-old told investigators.

When they confronted Figley, he confirmed what the boy previously had said and acknowledged to molesting the boy and attempting another.

Figley “said that he does have a sexual interest in boys,” Detective Duane Johnson wrote in his report. Figley said “that he feels that all people have secret desires and some times they act out on these in a low level way. (Figley) said that he feels this is what happened to him.”

During the hearing Tuesday, Figley did not say anything other than answer direct questions from Superior Court Judge Rebecca M. Baker. He stared forward and did not appear to look over at the victims’ parents.

His attorney, Jim Irwin, had no comment following the hearing.

Deputy Prosecutor Scot Stuart said both of the victims were students at the school where Figley worked as a student counselor. Stuart said investigators lacked the time to research how contact with the boys was initiated.

But in the case of one boy, “if the teacher wasn’t available, the boy would go to Craig’s room instead,” Stuart said.

Figley had at one point retired from the school district, but he recently went back to work for the district prior to his arrest in January.

Stuart said authorities on Tuesday just received access to a laptop computer Figley used prior to retiring.

“We sent that laptop out to be analyzed,” Stuart said.


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