Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Mark Speer was fired Thursday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.
Speer, who went by the first name of Cole, had been working as a school resource officer at Central Valley High School since 2011, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said.
The relationship began when the girl was a senior and continued for eight months after she graduated, ending in February, Knezovich said. The girl was over 18, and Speer is in his 40s, with a wife and teenage children. The age of consent in Washington is 16.
Text messages show the relationship was sexual, Knezovich said. Neither the girl nor Speer cooperated with an investigation by the sheriff’s office.
“Up until this very day, he was still untruthful,” Knezovich said of Speer. “He has disgraced not only his community, his agency, his peers, but an entire profession.”
The Washington State Patrol conducted a criminal investigation and turned over findings to the Spokane County prosecutor. No criminal charges have been filed, Knezovich said, but the prosecutor is taking “a thorough and diligent look into this matter.”
Speer was fired at the conclusion of an internal investigation. He has been on paid administrative leave since Feb. 25.
Knezovich acknowledged that Speer’s actions “ruin public trust” and that “every school resource officer is going to wear this. That’s the reality.”
He stressed that “98 percent” of deputies do good work.
“I will not have this 2 percent destroying the reputation of a profession I love,” he said. “That is why he will never wear a badge in the state of Washington if I can ever have anything to say about it.”
In 2010, Speer was the first backup deputy to arrive on the scene after pastor Wayne Scott Creach was shot and killed by Deputy Brian Hirzel outside of Creach’s Spokane Valley plant nursery. Days before he was put on leave this year, Speer assisted in the investigation that led to the arrest of a 13-year-old boy who allegedly made a bomb threat that closed down Greenacres Middle School.
Speer was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in 2006. In 2015, he earned $83,000.
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