BOTHELL, Wash. — A lie so big, it’s now a criminal matter.
Police say Bothell High School teacher Cal Pygott admitted to lying about someone attacking him in his classroom in May.
On Friday, the Bothell Municipal Court filed two misdemeanor counts against Pygott — obstruction and making false statements to police. If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail for each count.
Prosecutors say the teacher even named students as potential suspects when he lied about someone hitting him in the back of the head in his woodshop classroom and then placing a zip-tie around his neck.
“I can feel something on my neck,” Pygott told detectives, describing details of the "attack."
The lie could not only land him in jail but could cost him his career.
The Northshore School District wrote a letter to the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) about the incident.
It reads in part, “Mr. Pygott has displayed disregard for the character and personal fitness necessary to serve as a certificated employee in schools in the state of Washington."
The letter dated August 29 fits the standard filing whenever a teacher is accused of misconduct but now that Pygott is criminally charged, OSPI told Q13 News the charges could possibly raise the likelihood they will investigate Pygott.
“They will determine whether or not they will investigate, I am hoping in about a week, two weeks tops,” Nathan Olson with OSPI said.
If the state steps in and imposes the worst penalty, Pygott could be stripped of his teaching certificate.
“After a year the teacher may reapply but the revocation remains on that teacher`s record for the entirety of his or her career,” Olson said.
When Pygott was found on the ground after the "attack" on campus, the high school canceled classes for a day and it drained police resources.
Police said Pygott only confessed to lying after he failed a polygraph test. The teacher claimed it was a failed suicide attempt and he lied to save his legacy.
“If the suicide had worked, I would not have to be here to explain it,” Pygott said.
But detectives say the evidence does not point to a suicide attempt.
“I have never seen (a) person that chose to take their life want to throw off the investigation. When it comes to the suicide part of it, you don`t fit that,” a detective told Pygott.
Pygott is set to be in court September 20.