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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Riverside Elementary School paraeducator jailed, accused of sex crimes against teens

By Alexandra Duggan and Elena Perry The Spokesman-Review

A Riverside Elementary School paraeducator and high school coach admitted to recording himself engaging in sex acts with underage boys and sending the videos to other children, court records say.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the FBI, arrested Dallas M. Shuler, 28, on suspicion of sexually exploiting minors and possessing depictions of minors engaged in sexual conduct. He was booked into the Spokane County Jail on Saturday morning after the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office arrested him at a residence in Spokane Valley.

He’s worked as a paraeducator at Riverside Elementary School in Chattaroy for three years and a coach at Riverside High School for six, said Riverside Superintendent Ken Russell. Shuler graduated from Riverside High.

Shuler told investigators he solicited explicit content from 25 children in the last year because he is “sexually excited by” 11- to 15-year-olds. He has done so for “several years,” according to records, and was viewing those videos in the last week.

He allegedly admitted he kept a collection of explicit photos and videos of minors and “traded” them with children for other illicit content.

Shuler also admitted he arranged meetings with 14-year-old boys on two separate occasions last year, according to court documents. He told one teen he was 22 years old and met him in woods near University High School. Shuler recorded the two performing oral sex acts on each other, which he later distributed and exchanged for more sexual videos of minors, court records said.

In his second encounter, he met a juvenile through Snapchat and arranged a meeting at a campground near Newport. In exchange for sex acts, he supplied the teen with vapes, court records said.

Shuler initially denied any sexual activity with minors and “adamantly” denied explicit interactions with local children, according to court records. Shuler has been in “plenty of situations where I could, but I never, never would,” he told investigators.

Russell wrote to families in an email that an initial investigation does not indicate any Riverside students were involved in the alleged crimes, though he’s not sure what might come out. Shuler told investigators he primarily used Instagram to communicate with kids, and often lied about his age or disguised himself as another juvenile.

The district placed Shuler on administrative leave May 7, immediately after becoming aware of the investigation.

Investigators from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the FBI, began investigating a sexually explicit video on May 6 of two boys ranging in age from 9 to 11 years old. Shuler was screen-recording the video when he received a call on the app, and investigators were able to obtain an image of his face, court records said, and trace it back to him. He received 14 other explicit videos during that time frame.

Shuler denied being abused as a child, but said he had sexual contact with a neighbor when he was around 4 years old and into his teenage years. He began watching pornography at 12, and “got into things I wish I’d never gotten into,” he told investigators, according to court records. When he turned 13, he began watching child sexual abuse content, calling it an “addiction” and “nothing an adult should be into.”

He told detectives he knows his attraction is wrong but can’t help himself, court records said.

Superior Court Commissioner Eugene Cruz spoke directly to Shuler during his first court appearance Monday. Cruz said even though Shuler doesn’t have any criminal history, there are community safety concerns if he was to be released on a lower bond.

“What’s more alarming … is the fact you’re employed at Riverside Elementary School,” Cruz said. “The young people you’re involved with are of the same age group of the minors you were interested in soliciting.”

A judge over the weekend set Shuler’s bail at $25,000, but Cruz raised bail to $150,000, given the community safety risk. If he posts bail, Shuler is barred from entering any area where children congregate, Cruz said, like playgrounds.

Shuler declined a jailhouse interview Monday. It is unclear if he will face federal charges.

The district hired a substitute to assume Shuler’s position as the investigation continues. Russell said he was shocked and devastated when law enforcement told him of the investigation on May 7.

“As a superintendent, you pray that nothing like this ever happens,” Russell said. “And here we are.”