Law & Justice

Three Bellingham assistant principals cited for not reporting sexual assaults

Administrators were from Bellingham, Squalicum high schools
December 9, 2022 at 12:43 p.m.
|
Updated December 10, 2022 at 6:34 p.m.
Bellingham Public Schools Superintendent Greg Baker acknowledged in a release that three district assistant principals were cited by Bellingham Police for failure to report, a gross misdemeanor.
Bellingham Public Schools Superintendent Greg Baker acknowledged in a release that three district assistant principals were cited by Bellingham Police for failure to report, a gross misdemeanor. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)

By CDN Staff

Three Bellingham Public Schools assistant principals were issued citations on Wednesday for allegedly failing to report the sexual assaults of a student, police said.

Squalicum High School assistant principals Jeremy G. Louzao and Meghan V. Dunham, and Bellingham High School assistant principal Maude Chimere Hackney were charged with failure to report, a gross misdemeanor, police said. 

On Feb. 16, 2022, Bellingham Police arrested a male student for indecent liberties. The sexual contact occurred on school grounds during November and December 2021, according to a police report.

The victim reported the assaults on Jan. 14 to Louzao, who was, at the time, a dean of students. The victim was told a safety agreement would be put in place.  

The male student violated the safety agreement four days later. When the victim reported the violation of the agreement to Dunham, who was also a dean of students at the time, it was found the safety agreement had not been completed. It was completed and signed on Jan. 21, 2022.

Professional school personnel are required by law (RCW 26.44.030) to report suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement or the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Police found that the three school administrators did not report the sexual assaults until the victim reported the crime to police on Feb. 2. 

On Feb. 3, assistant principal Hackney facilitated a meeting with both the victim and the male student.

Bellingham Public Schools Superintendent Greg Baker said in a district release on Friday that the staff members "are continuing to work for our district in their normal capacity, and they have our support to do so."

The district believes the administrators do not pose a safety risk to students, Baker said in the release, and the allegations do not involve conduct that endangers students, "beyond an alleged failure to report student-to-student sexual contact."

Bellingham Public Schools staff go through annual training on mandatory reporting. 

"We take our duty as mandatory reporters seriously," Baker said in the release. "We are reviewing our training materials and processes regarding mandatory reporting and are working to make improvements in partnership with Bellingham Police."


This story was updated at 6:34 p.m. Dec. 10 to include additional information. 

Have a news tip? Email newstips@cascadiadaily.com or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Register for email newsletters

* indicates required
Preferences:

Latest Stories


HOCKEY
Kraken lose for the second time in three games
Flames rebound with impressive 5-2 win over Seattle

BASKETBALL
Sehome hands Lynden first league loss during blowout victory
Grant Kepley, Grey Garrison combine for 42 points

BASKETBALL
Lynden uses 3 double-digit scorers to rout Sehome
Lions now in sole possession of third place in league

LAW & JUSTICE
Temporary restraining order ties hands of newly elected Judge Rands
'Unprecedented' motion centers on transfer of 123 cases

PREP
BHS inducting 10 new members into Hall of Fame
2023 class includes athletes, coach, community contributor