SPRING, Texas – Charges have been filed against the former assistant principal at Spring High School accused of having sex with a student on campus.
Mark Steven West, 30, is charged with an improper relationship with the student.
School officials were tipped off to the allegations after hearing rumors and seeing inappropriate interactions between West and certain students, according to court documents.
The associate principal spoke to West in December 2012 after administrators heard that he made a sexual remark about one female student and possibly had sex with a another.
West was also investigated in the 2011-2012 school year for inappropriately touching a female student on her lower back, but no charges were filed due to lack of evidence. He was ordered by the administration not to have any contact with female students.
The allegations against West by staff members and students cropped up again in January of this year.
One staff member said she was extremely uncomfortable by the number of lengthy “closed door meetings” West was having with female students. The staff member said she observed students leaving his office, smiling and laughing, with their clothes and hair disheveled. She also saw West “body slam” a female student, in a playful manner, on a couch in the lobby office.
Students told investigators about rumors that West had sex with a student at the 2012 Project Prom event. They questioned the young woman at the center of the allegation, who is now in college.
She told investigators that she came on to West first and that he initially refused her advances, according to court documents.
The former student said on May 12, 2012, she attended the Project Prom event held at Spring High School. She said she started to flirt and talk with West, allegedly telling him that she “was horny and wanted to have sex with him.” The young woman said she continued her advances until he agreed to meet her in his upstairs office. Once alone, the two of them began to kiss and then had sex, investigators said.
West denied having sex with the student, but authorities felt they had enough evidence to file charges. When the investigation began in February, West was placed on administrative leave. He resigned on Friday.
A man who did not want to be identified said his 16-year-old daughter is among the women accusing West of inappropriate behavior.
”I was stunned, in disbelief,” he said. “He repeated it louder for her friend to hear: are you a virgin? And she goes, ‘yeah what does that have to do with it,’ and he said, ‘oh, I’m gonna let you make it ‘til you’re 21.’”
West's bail was set at $30,000.
Spring High School Principal Donna Ullrich issued the following statement:
“In February, the Spring ISD Police Department began investigating a recent report of an alleged improper relationship between former Spring High School Assistant Principal Mark West and a former Spring High School student. An incident allegedly occurred in May 2012 when the student was attending Spring High School. Mr. West has been on administrative leave during the investigation and resigned his position effective March 8, 2013. The Spring ISD Police Department submitted results of the investigation to the Harris County District Attorney’s office. The DA’s office accepted charges today, March 11, 2013, against Mr. West for Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student, which is a second-degree felony. I want to assure you that the safety of our students is of the highest importance at Spring High School. The criminal history and references of job applicants are routinely checked before they are hired. The administration at Spring High School takes every allegation seriously and will conduct a thorough investigation and expose inappropriate behavior when necessary. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. We will return from Spring Break on March 18.”