Ferris High School’s wrestling coach resigned earlier this month after an investigation was launched into whether he had inappropriate interactions with a student. The incident marks the third time in four years that a coach at the South Hill school has been implicated with allegations of improper interactions.
The district’s investigation found no indication of criminal wrongdoing.
Nate Desantiago, 28, the head wrestling coach, resigned four days after a human resources investigation was launched on May 2 regarding Desantiago’s relations with a female student, Spokane Public Schools spokesman Brian Coddington said.
DeSantiago first started as an assistant coach with the wrestling and football programs in 2016 after he was hired by the district in 2016 as a special education teacher. He served as an assistant coach on the football, basketball and baseball teams before he was named head wrestling coach prior to the current school year.
“Human resources did receive a report about student boundary concerns,” Coddington said. “Mr. Desantiago was placed on administrative leave on May 2, the same day the concerns were communicated to human resources.”
Desantiago resigned May 6.
Asked what he meant by “boundary concerns,” Coddington clarified that he was referring to “interactions with a student.”
Coddington would not discuss the nature of the allegations, but he said that information was not forwarded to the Spokane Police Department.
“It’s been reported to all the agencies that were needed,” Coddington said. “At this point, we haven’t found any evidence of criminal allegations.”
Desantiago’s resignation follows state and federal charges filed against former assistant football coach Charles J. Eglet. Prosecutors charged Eglet in August 2018 with two counts of third-degree child rape, third-degree child molestation and communicating with a child for immoral purposes. The alleged victim did not attend school at Ferris.
Then earlier this month, federal prosecutors indicted Eglet on six counts, including online enticement of a minor; sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; sex trafficking; receipt of child pornography and production of the same.
Eglet’s arrest followed the demise of longtime football coach Jim Sharkey, who was accused in 2016 of exposing himself at a camping retreat in Idaho to football players while joking about the size of his penis.
Sharkey has denied the allegations. He and his attorney worked out an agreement in which he admitted to “engaging in inappropriate comments and behavior toward students” but he denied ever exposing himself.
As part of the settlement, Sharkey will continue to work until Aug. 31, 2021, as a fitness teacher at Spokane Virtual Learning. But Sharkey only interacts with students via email with a co-teacher.
As for Desantiago, he has worked as an assistant coach for several sports, including coaching football during the same time as Eglet and Sharkey.
Desantiago started coaching football and wrestling in August 2016, Coddington said. Desantiago also helped coach basketball in the 2016-17 season and helped coach the baseball team for two seasons.
He was earning $53,105 for his teaching position for the current year and $5,493 for coaching wrestling and $4,660 for helping coach football. Two phone calls to Desantiago’s cellphone went to voicemail and were not returned.
Coddington acknowledged that school officials have concerns about three coaches being implicated with inappropriate interactions in such a short period of time from the same school.
“That is certainly something that we are looking at,” Coddington said. “Anytime you have a series of incidents, it’s incumbent on the district that we are doing our due diligence to uncover all of the facts behind those and make sure there aren’t patterns or similarities that can be drawn between any of these.”
Ferris Athletic Director Stacey Ward did not respond to messages from The Spokesman-Review left at her office on Thursday and Friday.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.