Wilson ready to ‘move forward’ with his life
By Marcy Stamper
An investigation lasting more than a year into unspecified allegations involving former Liberty Bell High School Activities Director Mike Wilson has ended with no charges being filed against him. Wilson’s attorney learned of the decision by the Chelan County deputy prosecuting attorney on Oct. 27.
Wilson, who worked for the school district for 11 years, said he was notified of Chelan County’s decision not to file charges by his attorney, David Marshall, but was not given any details.
“All I know is, after a full year, they finished the report and are not pressing charges. And I know the truth,” said Wilson.
Wilson said the investigation had apparently been submitted to the Chelan County prosecutor in September. “I’m just glad the process has run its course and I can move forward with my life,” he said.
Wilson said detectives had never interviewed him as part of the investigation, which grew out of an incident at a Liberty Bell football game in October 2013. At the game, a Liberty Bell student broke a window on Wilson’s vehicle with a rock, said Okanogan County Sheriff’s Chief Criminal Deputy Dave Rodriguez at the time.
The window-breaking incident was referred to Okanogan County’s juvenile prosecutor and was closed within a month, but a related investigation into the history of Wilson’s interactions with the student continued for more than a year.
An initial investigation was done by the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Department because the parties alleged to be involved all lived in Okanogan County. That investigation was provided to Chelan County in January, since the allegations under investigation were said to have occurred there, said Rodriguez.
Wilson said that shortly after the window-breaking incident, a detective from Okanogan County came to his house but, after Wilson said he wanted his attorney to be present, the detective never contacted him again.
“I’m very glad for this decision. I’m not surprised by it, as I know that that the alleged accusation never happened,” said Wilson this week by email.
“This whole time, my conscience has been 100 percent clear. I hope members of this community who have wondered or have had concerns about me, because of this investigation, can now be assured of my integrity, and welcome me back. It is my hope to contribute to the community in some way again,” he wrote.
During the past year, Wilson helped in the community on a personal level, volunteering during the summer’s wildfires, washing dishes at shelters and helping clear trees after the windstorm, he said.
“It’s part of my nature to contribute to the community,” said Wilson, who has lived in the Methow Valley for 19 years. “They were neighborly things that felt good,” he said. He said he had received a lot of support over the past year.
“Mike suffered a lot because this investigation took so long. I can’t say for sure why it did, but I suspect there’s an irony here: because there was little reason to think Mike had committed a crime, investigating the case was a low priority for law enforcement. That meant the case remained open for more than a year,” said his attorney by email.
“It’s not just Mike who suffered as the investigation dragged on. School officials couldn’t let Mike’s positions at Liberty Bell remain unfilled indefinitely. That wouldn’t have been fair to the people who had to handle his duties. Thus the length of the investigation cost Liberty Bell its dean of students, and it cost the soccer team an excellent coach,” wrote the attorney.
Wilson started at the district as a coach and then became athletic and activities director. He was also dean during his last two years with the district.
No details of the investigation or allegations, which involved a minor, have been made public. Detectives from Chelan County and Okanogan County and the Chelan County deputy prosecuting attorney did not return calls seeking more information.
Wilson said he has not yet thought about his next steps in terms of employment or other endeavors. The school district placed him on paid administrative leave for the remainder of the 2013-14 academic year to cooperate with the investigation.
At the end of the school year the district decided not to renew his contract, which had to be renewed on annual basis, said Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable. Hunter Maltais, the district’s transportation supervisor, has been serving as acting athletic director.
“The biggest thing is, I’m just glad I’m in control of my own life again,” said Wilson.