Alleged inappropriate conduct at Crater prompts police investigation

Central Point police are investigating possible inappropriate or illegal conduct between a Crater High School staff member and a student.

School administrators on Friday contacted police after they learned about the possibility of inappropriate conduct, Superintendent Samantha Steele said.

"The second we have allegations that could involve criminal behavior, we are obligated to involve the police," Steele said.

Steele said the staff member is an instructional assistant who has not been on campus since the allegations surfaced.

"We have taken all appropriate measures to ensure all of our students are safe," she said.

Both police and school officials remain tight lipped regarding details of the investigation. Both declined to name the alleged suspect or the nature of the contact.

"No criminal charges have been filed at this time," said Central Point police Lt. Scott Logue.

Logue confirmed the district reached out to police after school officials learned of the alleged conduct. Logue said he was unaware of exactly how the district became aware of the situation and he declined to answer questions about whether more students might be involved.

"Obviously our investigation would entail investigating other (student) contacts," Logue said. "We expect more information to come out."

State law requires mandatory reporters to tell authorities about any incidents of physical or sexual abuse of children if they have reasonable cause to believe the abuse has occurred. A mandatory reporter who violates this duty commits a Class A violation, which is punishable by a fine. Mandatory reporters include teachers, coaches, physicians, clergy, firefighters, law enforcement officers, social workers and more under Oregon Revised Statute 419B.005.

Steele said the school is cooperating fully with police and it remains unclear where the investigation will lead.

"At this point we are working with the police, and we are very early in the investigation," she said.

— Sanne Specht

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