Stadium High band leader quits amid allegations of student sex
Stadium High School’s 10-year band director has resigned and agreed to surrender his teaching certificate, following allegations that he had sex with a female student during the 2009-10 school year.
Stadium Principal Gail Barnum sent a letter to Stadium families Tuesday informing them of the resignation.
David J. Mulkins, 36, was placed on paid leave March 23 after the allegations surfaced. School officials contacted Tacoma police, who investigated and forwarded information to Pierce County prosecutors for review. Prosecutors have not decided whether to file criminal charges, deputy prosecutor Grant Blinn said Friday.
It is illegal in Washington for a teacher to have sex with a student, even if the student is 18 or older. The student in this case was a senior at the time.
Attorney Don Winskill, who has represented Mulkins, said Friday he would advise Mulkins not to make any public statements about the allegations.
Mulkins resigned effective May 24.
The letter to Stadium parents said the resignation came “in lieu of termination.” The letter also said the school district contacted the state Office of Professional Practices about the allegations and what the district has found.
A letter from acting Superintendent Carla Santorno to state officials says the district has “sufficient reliable information” indicating that Mulkins had a sexual relationship with the former student, who has graduated.
The allegations surfaced after a friend of the teen, also a Stadium graduate, brought information to Barnum. The friend told the principal that he had text messages from the girl discussing a sexual relationship with Mulkins.
In response to a records request from The News Tribune, the school district on Friday released documents including 13 pages of the student’s text messages and a letter that the district sent to Mulkins.
Among the allegations contained in those documents:
• Mulkins sent the girl text messages that were sexual in nature during basketball games.
• He bought her gifts, including a promise ring, which since have been turned over to a family friend. The friend verified that he has the materials in his possession.
• He had sex with the girl on school property and during an out-of-town school trip.
In the text messages, the girl says she was confused and sometimes afraid during the course of the relationship, which continued after she graduated. She says she didn’t report it for fear of public humiliation.
Mulkins first worked for Tacoma Public Schools as a substitute teacher and was hired full time in 1999. Before directing the band at Stadium, he taught band at Mason Middle School.
This is the second time this year that a Stadium staff member has been embroiled in accusations of having sex with students. Former security officer and coach Donte Lipscomb was charged last winter with five counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.