By Marcy Stamper
Detectives with the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department have completed their investigation into an allegation against Liberty Bell High School athletic director Mike Wilson and sent the case file to the prosecutor for review on Jan. 9.
The Okanogan County prosecutor will review the investigation to be sure that it is complete and pass it on to the Chelan County prosecutor, who is responsible for making any decisions about whether to bring charges because the allegations under investigation were said to have occurred in Chelan County, according to Okanogan County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dave Rodriguez.
Because all the individuals alleged to be involved live in Okanogan County, detectives with the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department handled the investigation, said Rodriguez. The Okanogan County prosecutor does not make a recommendation in a situation like this, said Rodriguez.
The issues under investigation came to light after an incident at the homecoming football game in October, at which a student broke a window on Wilson’s vehicle. In the course of looking into the window-breaking episode, other questions arose about past issues, and the detectives have been investigating those allegations since then, said Rodriguez. Investigation into the window incident was completed months ago.
Once an investigation is complete, it is standard procedure for a county prosecutor to review it to determine if there is probable cause to charge an individual with a crime, if charges should be for a more- or less-serious offense than the one under investigation, or if there are no grounds for filing charges, said Rodriguez.
“Chelan County could ask for additional investigation. That’s why these things take forever,” said Rodriguez.
Wilson has been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 7. The school district is cooperating with the sheriff’s office and has been kept apprised of the process and timelines, but has not been given any details about the allegations, in order to protect the privacy and rights of each individual, said Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable.
While the school district put Wilson on leave to cooperate with the sheriff’s investigation, administrative leave is not disciplinary in nature, said Venable.
Hunter Maltais, the district’s transportation supervisor, has been filling in for Wilson as acting athletic director, and Jane Orme, who retired from teaching last year, is serving as acting dean, which was also part of Wilson’s job.