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LWHS softball coach will not be reprimanded for texting student, LWSD investigation concludes

Lake Washington School District - Contributed
Lake Washington School District
— image credit: Contributed

The Lake Washington School District’s investigation into alleged inappropriate texting between the Lake Washington High School girls’ softball head coach Troy Hennum and a LWHS female student athlete found no evidence of an inappropriate relationship between the two.

Hennum will face no punitive action from the district and will be allowed to apply to coach for the team next season, said Kathryn Reith, communications director for the school district. She noted that LWSD coaching contracts are for one year and the district has not hired anyone yet for that position next season.

Reith said Hennum "was found to have violated district policy, but not to a level that would require a letter of reprimand or a letter of directive."

Hennum could not immediately be reached for comment.

The district placed Hennum on administrative leave in April when students at Eastlake High School (EHS) reported that a text message was found between Hennum and the Lake Washington High School student. Hennum also coaches a select softball team made up of athletes from EHS.

During an overnight tournament in Wenatchee in March, two LWHS students told investigators they read a text message on another student’s phone from Hennum, according to investigation documents. The LWHS students later told EHS students, who reported the matter to EHS school officials.

Hennum told investigators he reached out to the student via text because he was concerned about her and that he “regretted” doing so.

He said he didn’t involve the student’s parents because he “didn’t want to break a trust with (the student).” He admitted to texting the student to see if she wanted to meet with the coach because he was concerned about her, but denied the text was inappropriate, the documents continue. He also admitted the text message was “bad judgement," according to the investigation.

The student has allegedly been having off-the-field issues, investigation documents state.

The investigation found that there was no evidence of any inappropriate context to the message other than it was sent between the coach and just one player. LWSD policy mandates that coaches are only allowed to text or email the entire team, and must include parents when sending messages.

The district also placed Juanita High School baseball head coach Sherman Leach on administrative leave in April for undisclosed reasons. The investigation into Leach’s dismissal has not yet concluded.

Leach was the fourth case that led to an investigation by the district or law enforcement during the 2011-2012 school year.

The first occurred when the husband of a Juanita High School girls’ volleyball coach was allegedly caught spying on members of the team in a bathroom during a sleep over at a family-owned warehouse in Woodinville. Steve C. Meeks was charged in the crime that occurred during a non school-sanctioned event.

In addition, former LWHS boys’ basketball head coach Barry Johnson was charged April 3 with communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. Johnson pleaded not guilty to the gross misdemeanor.

The accusations against Johnson took place while he was both a coach and an instructional assistant.

Editor Carrie Wood contributed to this report.

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