Lacey Police are investigating allegations that a former Community Christian Academy teacher had inappropriate conduct with a student or students, according to Sgt. Jaime Newcomb.
“It’s still an active investigation,” he told The Olympian. “I think the investigation should be wrapped up within this next week or two.”
Officials at the small private school at 4706 Park Center Ave. NE, east of College Street, are working “in full cooperation” with police, said interim principal Kim DeLeon.
“The person referenced in the investigation is no longer an employee on our campus as of July of 2016,” she said.
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In addition, the academy’s principal, Rick Graham, began a leave of absence on Jan. 15 “due to his association with the case as an administrator,” DeLeon said. The leave was voluntary, she said.
Criminal charges have not been filed against the teacher. The Olympian does not name suspects until charges have been filed and suspects have appeared in court.
Newcomb said a report alleging that one of the school’s former teachers had inappropriate conduct with a student or students was filed in September. The complaint was investigated by detectives and sent to the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
The prosecutor’s office sent the case back to police when “additional information came to light,” Newcomb said. He declined to say when the new information was reported, but he said it involved more complaints or concerns made by another party.
Community Christian Academy has about 170 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It shares a campus with Northwest Christian High School and Community Christian Academy Preschool & Childcare, and is affiliated with both schools.
DeLeon said letters were sent to families at all three schools about the investigation. The academy is committed to staying open and honest about the situation, she said.
“It is through difficult times as this that we walk in faith and pull together and get stronger,” DeLeon said.
Many parents support the school’s actions and believe justice will prevail.
Joyce Walker said her grandson’s experience at the academy over the past nine years “could not have been more positive.” She said the staff and teachers at the school are caring and supportive to students.
“I plan for him to finish his school years at CCA and move on to Northwest Christian High School,” she said.
Robert Ingram has two children at the school, and a preschooler who will attend CCA next year.
He is a member of an advisory committee that represents the school’s parents that will soon provide recommendations to the school board on changes that are needed to CCA’s practices, policies and procedures.
Ingram said most parents know the former teacher and the nature of the accusations. He said he believes school officials are taking appropriate actions “to ensure something like this will never happen again.”
“Changes are already underway that demonstrate the administrator’s desire to restore parents’ confidence and trust,” he said. “Based upon my knowledge of the administrators, both my heart and my head are telling me that they will do what is right for the school — not because they are being forced to, but simply because it is the right thing to do.”