Mark Steven West, a former assistant principal at Spring Hill School in Spring, Texas, resigned last week after allegations that he had sex with an underage student during the school's 2012 Project Prom event last year. The shocking allegations led to an arrest and subsequent charges.
Former assistant principal Mark Steven West (Photo Credit: KTRK/ABC News)
Court documents indicate that the girl, now a college student, admits that the two had sex during the prom event in May 2012. While the unnamed young woman told authorities that she initiated the advances and that the assistance principal initially resisted, the two ended up allegedly having sex in his office at the school.
West was inevitably charged improper sexual relations with a student, as ABC News reports. This charge, according to court records, is a second-degree felony. The former administrator pleaded not guilty and is currently free after posting a $30,000 bond. He is due back in court in mid-April.
This apparently isn't the first time that questions have arisen about West's alleged activity with female students. According to his former secretary, female students would sometimes leave his office with their hair and clothing out of place. She purportedly told investigators that she was uncomfortable with the amount of time these students spent in his office.
WFAA-TV provides a timeline of events that led to the current case against West:
School officials were tipped off to the allegations after hearing rumors and seeing inappropriate interactions between West and certain students, according to court documents.
The associate principal spoke to West in December 2012 after administrators heard that he made a sexual remark about one female student and possibly had sex with a another.
West was also investigated in the 2011-2012 school year for inappropriately touching a female student on her lower back, but no charges were filed due to lack of evidence. He was ordered by the administration not to have any contact with female students.
The allegations against West by staff members and students cropped up again in January of this year.
School principal Donna Ullrich issued a statement to parents addressing the scenario. It noted that the police investigation launched in February and that West was on administration leave until resigning on March 8. Ullrich also used the opportunity help put parents at ease.
"I want to assure you that the safety of our students is of the highest importance at Spring High School," she said. "The criminal history and references of job applicants are routinely checked before they are hired. The administration at Spring High School takes every allegation seriously and will conduct a thorough investigation and expose inappropriate behavior when necessary."
Despite these claims, West's attorney insists that his client is innocent. KTRK-TV reports that Charles Johnson, his lawyer, made brief comments on his client's behalf following a court appearance on Wednesday.
"Speaking with his family, looking at his background as an educator, he is innocent. He cares about the kids," Johnson said. "I think that once the truth, what he's facing and why he's facing it, comes out, that the charges will ultimately be dismissed."
While some outlets are reporting that the event occurred during the actual prom event, WFAA-TV notes that it was at the 2012 Project Prom event. According to the school's web site, the 2013 Project Prom Event (the most recent being advertised) is intent on "providing a safe, drug and alcohol free after prom activity for our seniors." It's apparently an after-prom event where parents send their kids to ensure their safety.
Other Must-Read Stories: