Spokane County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a Mead High School teacher suspected of having a sexual relationship with an underage student.
Wesley Perez, 37, was taken into custody at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at a parking lot in north Spokane. He faces charges of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, both felonies.
Ralph Thayer, assistant superintendent of the Mead School District, said Wednesday that Perez is currently on administrative leave.
Deputies began investigating Perez after school officials received an anonymous letter in mid-April detailing a relationship between Perez, who taught Spanish, and a 17-year-old girl. The letter alleged the two met at a leadership camp in early 2017 and began a “flirtatious” relationship shortly after.
Court records say the two began a physical relationship about a month after the camp and had sex around the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.
In late April, detectives interviewed two of the student’s friends, who told them details of the alleged relationship seeming to match those in the letter, according to a search warrant filed May 14. The friends said they would discuss Perez as a group, often over text messages.
The friends, who also attend Mead, told detectives that about a month after the camp, the student and Perez would meet in a parking lot and drive off together to be “intimate,” or would go to Perez’s house while his wife was at work, court records say.
The student, who was interviewed by detectives, denied the relationship when interviewed on April 23, according to court records. She also denied ever communicating with Perez outside of school.
Court records say detectives attempted to download the contents of the student’s iPhone, but were unable to do so due to a damaged port. They did not find any contacts in her phone by the name of “Wesley Perez.”
Instead, according to court records, investigators extracted data from a phone belonging to one of her friends, which showed that the girls were “obviously discussing” a relationship between Perez and the student, including specific details about sexual intercourse.
Perez is scheduled for his first court appearance Thursday afternoon, where a judge will set his release conditions. He has no criminal history in Washington, according to a search of state court records.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.