La Pine HS cheerleading coach charged with abuse
Rumors of involvement with boy, 17, led to investigation arrest
La Pine High School’s cheerleading coach has been arrested on charges of sex abuse and furnishing alcohol to a minor, alleging she engaged in inappropriate behavior with a 17-year-old male student, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said Thursday. School officials said she resigned from her position after the investigation began.
A staff member at the school, a “mandatory reporter” of abuse under state law, notified the sheriff’s office on March 21 of rumors alleging that Nicole Mickelson, 30, of La Pine, had been involved inappropriately with a 17-year-old male student, said sheriff’s Lt. Deron McMaster.
A responding deputy initiated the investigation, which then was referred to a sheriff’s office school resource deputy.
McMaster told NewsChannel 21 Mickelson was partying with four students in early March, including the 17-year-old male she had sex with.
A week ago, when the investigation concluded, Mickelson was arrested on four counts of second-degree sexual abuse, four counts of sexual misconduct and three counts of furnishing liquor to a minor. Mickelson previously had been cited on one count of furnishing liquor to a minor, McMaster said.
Mickelson was booked into the county jail in Bend and released after posting 10 percent of her $30,000 bail. She’s due to make an initial court appearance on Thursday, May 2nd at 1:30 p.m.
School officials said Mickelson was hired to coach at the school in the fall of 2011, but is no longer a school employee.
"The employee resigned prior to charges being brought, but their investigation was pending, had begun, and the resignation followed shortly after," said Bend-La Pine Schools Assistant Superintendent Jay Mathisen.
Students said she was popular with the high schoolers.
"She was very nice," said a friend of the victim who wanted to remain anonymous. "She definitely got along with everybody, kind of had that high school mentality, so she kind of fit in -- and I never expected that."
Police say it was not an on-going relationship, and the victim's friend told NewsChannel 21 that the sex only happened once.
"I think there was ongoing conversations and everything afterward, but I think, to my knowledge, it was only that one time at the party," he said.
Residents of La Pine say the news is sickening.
"You put a person in charge that the kids have respect for and then take advantage of the situation, it's terrible," said La Pine resident Tim Jenning.
School officials said it was a staff member who reported the rumors that were swirling around the high school.
"It is something that we take very seriously, and our employees conduct complete annual training," Mathisen said.
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