A West Valley High School softball coach was put on paid administrative leave Friday pending an investigation into allegations he may have had a sexual relationship with a female player.
Dana Schmerer, who is also a teacher at North Pines Middle School in the Central Valley School District, is under investigation for first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor, said Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan.
Schmerer, 41, was also put on paid administrative leave from his teaching duties at North Pines on Monday, said Central Valley spokeswoman Melanie Rose.
Allegations about the coach and his alleged inappropriate contact with the student, who is now 18, surfaced about a month ago when a parent volunteer said he saw the coach and the student coming out of an outdoor equipment shed at the school, said West Valley spokeswoman Sue Shields.
The parent felt uncomfortable with the situation and eventually told the school what he had seen. When the parent came forward, an investigation was launched immediately, Shields said.
“There were innuendos, but we didn’t have anything to go on,” Shields said. “It was just ‘he said, she said,’ but there was absolutely nothing factual to go from at that time.”
The investigation accelerated on Thursday when the boyfriend of the alleged victim showed up at a West Valley softball game at Mt. Spokane High School and confronted the coach, Shields said.
The boyfriend, who is a former West Valley student, then drove to West Valley High School where he was met by security officers. He told the security officers that he was upset because his girlfriend and Schmerer were “having an affair,” Shields said.
A police report taken Friday alleges that the coach began having a sexual relationship with the student last summer, when she was 17.
Another student told investigators that she was at the alleged victim’s home, possibly in July, when Schmerer called and said he was coming over, according to the report.
The report states that when the visiting student saw the coach’s truck pull up, she went into the basement.
The coach stayed for about 30 minutes, and the visiting student “heard what she thought were sexual noises coming from upstairs,” where the alleged victim and coach were, Reagan said
After the coach left, the alleged victim told the other student that she and the coach had “performed oral sex on each other,” Reagan said.
The report also states that later that summer, the same WV student asked the alleged victim about her relationship with the coach and was told that the two had had sex, Reagan said.
“It doesn’t say how many times or how long that relationship occurred,” he said.
When questioned by authorities Friday, the alleged victim said the coach had been to her home at least 30 times, but inside the home with the door closed about five times, Reagan said.
The report does not indicate whether the girl told authorities that she had sex with the coach.
The coach denied having been inside her home. Schmerer said he had been to the student’s home three or four times, but never inside with the door closed, Reagan said.
The investigation has been turned over to the sheriff’s sex crimes unit, Reagan said.
Although the age of consent in Washington is 16, state law prohibits teachers – or any adult in a position of authority over youth – from having sexual contact with minors, Reagan said.
Calls to Schmerer went unanswered Monday.
Junior varsity softball coach Drew Wendle was put in charge of the team. West Valley was scheduled to play its last regular-season game Monday in Clarkston.