Investigation concludes former Lopez secondary school principal sexually harassed coworkers

  • Fri May 15th, 2020 3:00pm
  • News

Submitted by Lopez Island School District

An investigation into allegations of workplace sexual harassment between an administrator and staff as well as the Lopez Island School District’s response to these allegations when reported is now complete.

The investigation was conducted by a third-party investigator with extensive investigative experience, addressed two primary questions:

• Did former Lopez Island School Principal Dave Sather adhere to requirements outlined in a 2017 letter of instruction, which was put in place because of previous concerns reported about his behavior? The letter of instruction required him to follow the district’s sexual harassment policy, refrain from sexual references or comments of a sexual nature, and maintain professionalism in interactions with employees.

• Was the Lopez Island School District appropriately responsive to reports of sexual harassment when these reports were brought to the attention of the district?

After a thorough review of facts, evaluation of more than 30 documents, and interviews with more than 45 witnesses, the investigator determined the following:

• Sather violated the terms of the 2017 letter of instruction.

• The Lopez Island School District had responded appropriately to reports of harassment when these reports were brought to the attention of the district.

As is part of the required due process, Sather was presented with a copy of the report. He has resigned from his position with the district, effective immediately. He waived his right to appeal the report’s findings.

A copy of the report with legally required redactions will be made available to the public. The district is in the process of taking the legally necessary steps to prepare the report for release, including notification of witnesses, complainants and parties, and redaction of names to protect the privacy of those involved.

Upon the completion of the report, the district proactively initiated action steps to enhance its safe workplace programs, policies and procedures. A group, comprised of board and community members will be convened to review programs, policies and procedures against best practices and offer recommendations.