Orcas High School teacher charged with sexual misconduct

After an investigation by the  San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and an outside investigator retained by the Orcas Island School District, science teacher Dr. Gerald Grellet-Tinner, 59, has been charged with two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, which is a felony.

The alleged incidents occurred with one of his students at Orcas Island High School.

Grellet-Tinner’s bail was posted at $100,000. He posted the money himself and was released. A court date has not yet been set.

Sheriff Ron Krebs explained that although the student was 18 years old, the two also had a teacher-student relationship.

“If the student was under 18, the charge would have been rape of a child,” he said.

According to San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney Randy Gaylord, the state legislature changed the age of a minor (if that person is a student of a teacher) to age 21 – not age 18.

“When there is a student-teacher relationship, there is a special obligation that falls upon a teacher of trust and confidence,” said Gaylord. “This is not the first time this has happened in San Juan County.”

A court date is set for Oct. 30 to hear arguments over a change of conditions release. The defendant is asking for bail to be reduced and the prosecution is asking for it stay as it is. They will also discuss a motion to release evidence back to the defendant, including a cell phone.

Arraignment will occur on Nov. 6 at 9 a.m. at which time Grellet-Tinner will enter a plea. He is being represented by Lawrence Delay of Friday Harbor. If he doesn’t plead guilty and take a plea offer, a trial will take place within 90 days.

A search warrant was served to Grellet-Tinner at his residence on Orcas Island and investigators removed items that possibly contained DNA evidence.

“At that time we took him into custody,” Krebs said.

According to Orcas School Superintendent Eric Webb, the district took immediate action as soon as the allegations were made by placing the teacher on administrative leave, notifying the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department and obtaining an investigator. This is Grellet-Tinner’s first year as a teacher for the school.

“The district has hired a substitute teacher with a strong background in the sciences who will be working closely with High School Principal Kyle Freeman to provide the best learning experience for our science students,” wrote Webb in a press release.