Monday, December 17, 2007

School officials speak out on tennis coach arrest

BY ERIC LINDBERG
DAILY SOUND STAFF WRITER

School officials spoke out vehemently today about the arrest of a 34-year-old walk-on tennis coach at Santa Barbara High School accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student.
At a press conference in the Board of Education’s meeting room, Superintendent Dr. Brian Sarvis characterized the alleged activity as intolerable and wholly out of character with the code of ethics maintained by the Santa Barbara School Districts.

“Frankly, I want to see this guy behind bars,” Dr. Sarvis said. “This is not the type of behavior we can tolerate around our children.”
“We’re extremely disappointed,” Principal Dr. Mark Capritto added. “…It was pretty devastating and horrific that some of our students had to go through this.”
Santa Barbara police arrested Peter Aibor Jeschke on Friday after conducting a brief investigation into allegations that he had developed a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl associated with the girls tennis team, also supplying her with drugs, authorities said.
Attempts to contact Jeschke and his family for comment were not successful.
Dr. Sarvis said school administrators were approached by several of the victim’s friends who were concerned about the alleged relationship.
“We initiated the police investigation because we had a lot of evidence to believe that the allegations of sex with a minor and supplying of drugs were true,” he said.
The school officially terminated Jeschke's contract last week after initially putting him on administrative leave. Dr. Capritto said students, currently on winter break, are handling the news well and have cooperated with the investigation.
“It was a very emotional past couple of days,” he said. “…Students are already talking. We’ve asked them to keep it as quiet as possible.”
Lt. Paul McCaffrey, a spokesman for the police department, said detectives took over the investigation on Tuesday, Dec. 11, after school administrators contacted them about the alleged improprieties.
“This case became a priority for our police department,” Lt. McCaffrey said.
After speaking with the victim and several other witnesses, he said detectives determined that the alleged sexual activity had occurred in late November at an upper Eastside home Jeschke had been housesitting.
Officers obtained an arrest warrant and took Jeschke into custody without incident on Friday. A search of his Montecito residence turned up less than an ounce of marijuana and other evidence related to the case, Lt. McCaffrey said, declining to elaborate further.
“We’re continuing to investigate,” he said. “Naturally, there are questions being posed as to whether anyone else was involved or knew anything.”
In addition to coaching tennis at the high school, Jeschke also taught private lessons in the community, said Nan Verkaik, athletic director for Santa Barbara High School.
“He’s been coaching tennis in the community for a long time,” she said.
Jeschke started coaching as a fingerprinted volunteer for the boys tennis team in spring 2006 and was hired on a seasonal basis as an assistant for both girls and boys teams starting in fall 2006, receiving a stipend of $1,165 each season. A background check conducted before Jeschke started as a volunteer coach failed to turn up any criminal history, authorities said.
Of the school districts’ 2,700 employees, about 500 are walk-on coaches, Dr. Sarvis said, explaining that teachers are unable to handle the numerous athletic activities on their own.
As of this afternoon, Lt. McCaffrey said Jeschke is still in jail on $100,000 bail, along with $20,000 bail for a warrant stemming from a DUI-related offense in Torrance, Calif.
Police determined that the warrant had been issued in early November and Lt. McCaffrey said it is unlikely the school could have known about the DUI offense prior to Jeschke’s arrest.
Dr. Sarvis said criminal activity conducted by school employees is reported to school administrators, explaining that information about Jeschke’s DUI warrant likely had not yet arrived from the state Department of Justice.
Authorities arrested Jeschke for unlawful sex with a minor, marijuana possession and driving on a suspended license, Lt. McCaffrey said, along with the DUI-related warrant.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obviously this is a very serious matter and definitely must be investigated further. It is inappropriate for Mr. Sarvis to come out and assume that these charges are true. There have been many examples where these types of cases have gone the other way, and the accused names have been wrongly slandered. i think everyone needs to avoid getting sucked into the sensational media and wait until we can find out the facts.

shame on "dr" sarvis said...

I agree with anonymous. Innocent until proven guilty. Shame on Mr. Sarvis. This guy shouldn't be in the position he is. Too unprofessional for being a superintendent, but nobody is perfect. Neither is Mr. Jeschke or the girl. Let's all hope the teenager is going to be okay either way. It's a shame, at least two lives will never be the same.

Anonymous said...

This person has been doing this for years and if it were your daughter you would have a different attitude. Mr Sarvis was just doing his job by defending a student in his school district. This person has a history of having been abused as a child himself but some people were fooled by his split personality. He's scary and a child molester. A person who is 16 should not be taken advantage of by someone almost double her age. Where are our values in today's society? Where has our childhood gone? Unfortunately, parents have to worry about everything relative to our children and part of parental responsibility not only involves being their parents but also their friends. Something money can't buy.