Parents we talked with are calling the accusations disturbing. And according to court documents, witnesses told police there may also be video evidence of the alleged sex act between that student and the accused educator, Mark Steven West.
No one answered the door when we showed up to West's home to get his reaction to his arrest and the accusations against him. The female victim, who has since graduated from Spring High, told police she and West had sex in his office during a prom event at the school in May of last year.
But court documents detail that Spring ISD administrators had been concerned about West's behavior around female students for months. In one incident, West was accused of touching a girl above her lower back inappropriately. That case didn't result in criminal charges due to a lack of evidence.
The school's principal said at that time, West "was instructed by administrators to discontinue all behavior that involved physical contact with female students."
West's secretary also had concerns. She told police she "...observed and was uncomfortable with the amount of time [West] spent behind closed doors with female students."
The woman told investigators she "observed female students exit [West's] office with their hair and clothing disheveled, and the female students would be smiling and laughing."
West, 30, was charged Monday with improper relationship with a student. He posted a bond of $30,000.
He has denied having sex with the former student. West turned in his resignation from Spring ISD on Friday.
The school district sent a letter home to parents which read:
- "Good Morning Spring High Parents, This is Principal Donna Ullrich. In February, I communicated by phone and email that allegations against a Spring High School employee were being investigated by the Spring ISD Police Department and results of the investigation would be shared with you when it was completed. I am now able to share the results of that investigation. In February, the Spring ISD Police Department began investigating a recent report of an alleged improper relationship between former Spring High School Assistant Principal Mark West and a former Spring High School student. An incident allegedly occurred in May 2012 when the student was attending Spring High School. Mr. West has been on administrative leave during the investigation and resigned his position effective March 8, 2013. The Spring ISD Police Department submitted results of the investigation to the Harris County District Attorney's office. The DA's office accepted charges today, March 11, 2013, against Mr. West for Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student, which is a second-degree felony. I want to assure you that the safety of our students is of the highest importance at Spring High School. 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. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. We will return from Spring Break on March 18."
The Texas Education Agency released a statement to Eyewitness News Tuesday:
- "The Texas Education Agency takes seriously any allegation of improper relationships between an educator and student. Such relationships are an unacceptable breach of trust for parents who send their children to public schools each day. We know that school districts across Texas share that concern and - as required by law - report such allegations to TEA so that our agency can conduct a full investigation."
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