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East Valley softball coach accused of asking player inappropriate questions about sexual activity

UPDATED: Mon., May 1, 2017

East Valley school officials put their high school softball coach on paid leave after a student accused him of asking questions about her sexual activity.

Coach Ray Riggin, 54, said he was only attempting to be a father figure to one of his players, according to school records obtained through a public records request.

“I told her I notice you have issues when you run,” Riggin told administrators looking into the matter. “She is kind of chesty.”

According to a statement written by the girl, Riggin called her into his office and asked her when she started developing breasts. He then asked if she and her boyfriend had sex, she alleges.

According to the girl’s note, Riggin asked, “how often do you guys have it?”

She also said Riggin told her: “Don’t be telling your boyfriend or mom or friends about the stuff I am saying because if that happens then everything will just get blown out of proportion. Got it kiddo?”

The girl also claims Riggin had previously “slapped my butt.”

However, Riggin said he was simply trying to help one of his players.

In an interview with Assistant Superintendent Karen Cloninger and Director of Human Resources Thomas Gresch, Riggin denied asking the girl how often she has sex. Instead, he said he asked about her relationship with her boyfriend because he knew she was having “boy problems.”

“I asked, is this relationship affecting you emotionally,” he said, according to notes from the meeting. “I was trying to get to the root of what was bothering her.”

Riggin was put on paid administrative leave on March 9. He did not respond to a request for comment.

The district hired an investigator to review the allegations, Superintendent Kelly Shea said. Once the investigation is concluded, the district will review the findings and make a determination.

“We just want to figure out what the truth is,” he said.

On the same day Riggin was put on leave, administrators also put his daughter, Allie Riggin-Ames, on paid leave.

Riggin-Ames is an assistant softball coach. According to district records, she contacted a former player about the investigation into her father after being advised to not talk about the case.

In a series of text messages, Riggin-Ames wrote, “She got my dad put on leave because of her lies. And she is going to get caught and get in big trouble. He didn’t even do anything.”

The former player who Riggin-Ames contacted, a 2016 graduate of East Valley High School, also filed a formal statement with the district alleging inappropriate conduct. She is friends with Riggin-Ames.

In the document dated March 15, she wrote, “He (Riggin) made a lot of inappropriate comments to me about my female body parts. For example, he asked what size bra I wore and what type of underwear I preferred. When I started dating my now husband, he asked how sexually active I was.”

The former student also alleges that during her senior year, Riggin “commented that I was becoming a woman” and said, “ ‘You’re legal now.’ ”

She ends her written statement with: “I feel he is very manipulative and uses student’s passion for softball to develop inappropriate relationships.”

This isn’t the first time Riggin has been accused of inappropriate conduct. In March 2000, Riggin was accused of making sexually explicit comments to four students and touching one student on the leg at West Valley High School. He was subsequently fired.

However, a hearing officer ruled he be reinstated due to “the complete lack of corroboration in circumstances where corroborating evidence should have been readily available,” according to court documents.

Initially the district appealed the hearing officer’s decision. However, the district later opted to work with a mediator, and in 2002, West Valley settled with Riggin for $74,500. As part of that settlement Riggin agreed to resign from the district. He had been varsity baseball coach and taught math.

Riggin started coaching at East Valley in 2009. He started teaching there in 2011.

In 2016-17, the East Valley district paid him $6,319 for coaching. His base salary for 2015-16 was $63,161.

In district documents, Riggin admits how his actions could have been “misinterpreted.” However, he maintains he is just a concerned coach looking out for his players.

“I talked to her like a father would a daughter,” he said.

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