Former University Place teacher pleads guilty to sex with student

Staff writerAugust 21, 2014 

A former Curtis High School teacher pleaded guilty Thursday to having sex with one of his students and to violating a court decree that had ordered him not to contact the girl while he awaited trial on sexual misconduct charges.

Michael E. Allen pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor and to two counts of violating the no-contact order.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson ordered Allen back to jail, where he has been held since March. He also ordered the former biology teacher to have no contact with the girl or with any minors other than his own children. Sentencing is set for Oct. 2.

“He wanted to take responsibility for what he did,” said Allen’s attorney Don Winskill. “It was always his intent to take responsibility.”

Allen, 33, was originally charged in February with five counts of sexual misconduct. He was accused of having a sexual relationship with the 17-year-old student during his employment at the University Place school where he had taught since 2009.

Court and school district records revealed a relationship fueled by text messages and cellphone calls. A school district attorney reported that Allen spent nearly 2,000 minutes connecting with the girl’s cell phone between Nov. 20, 2013 and Jan. 16 of this year. Between Dec. 19, 2013 and Feb. 11, they exchanged more than 2,400 text messages.

A University Place mom reported to school officials that she had seen Allen leaving a student’s house. In January, the school district placed Allen on administrative leave and launched an investigation. School officials contacted University Place police on Feb. 11.

Allen pleaded not guilty to the original charges and was released on bail.

He was taken into custody and returned to jail in March, following allegations that he had violated a court order not to contact the girl or potential witnesses.

Prosecutors alleged in March that Allen, while out on bail, met with the girl and spoke with her on the phone for 45 minutes. They also said he appeared to have contacted a friend of the girl through Twitter, and that he sent a letter to the girl’s mother.

He was ordered jailed in March, with bail set at $125,000. He has been in custody since then.

In his written statement to the court Thursday, Allen admitted having sexual intercourse with the girl twice. He also admitted violating the no-contact order.

The standard sentence for the sexual misconduct charges is between 15 and 20 months in jail, and violating the no-contact order could bring a sentence of up to 364 days. The judge could impose a heavier jail sentence as well as fines. Allen also will have to register as a sex offender.

Allen resigned from his job March 1, and Winskill said he surrendered his teaching certificate.

Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635 debbie.cafazzo@thenewstribune.com @DebbieCafazzo

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