OLYMPIA — A Thurston County judge found probable cause Wednesday to support an allegation that Tumwater’s former Black Hills High School para-educator Courtney Keller had a sexual relationship with a student, starting when he was 16, The Olympian reported.
Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham also found probable cause to support the accusation that Keller committed first-degree criminal sexual misconduct with the minor, the Olympian said.
Keller, 28, a married mother of a 4-year-old daughter, pleaded not guilty and she was released from jail on her personal recognizance Wednesday.
Keller was arrested Tuesday following a police investigation.
The Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office said Keller began a sexual relationship with the student when he was 16 years old — he is now 18 and he dropped out of school in his senior year — and that she immediately resigned from her position in February when the allegations were made.
During their investigation, authorities said that the relationship began during the 2010-2011 school year when the victim was a sophomore and that it continued for two years, ending during the 2012-2013 school year when the victim was a senior.
Citing court papers, The Olympian said the 18-year-old told police that “the entire school knew about his relationship with Keller.”
According to The Olympian, the court papers said:
The former student told police that the two began flirting, then “making out” and touching, all during his sophomore year in high school, when he was 16. Starting during his junior year, he said she began providing him “with tobacco and pain killers,” including Vicodin and Percoset.
They also began having sex his junior year, the young man told police. He said that Keller once attended a party with him at another student’s home. He said that two students walked in on him having sex with Keller during the party.
He said the relationship ended because Keller was falling in love, and she wanted to leave her husband and move in with him when he turned 18. The young man told police he was “really freaked” by this proposal.
When police interviewed the 18-year-old’s mother, she said that she thought it was odd he was spending so much time in detention without being referred there. Keller’s duties included supervising detention.