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Hooper Bay's wrestling coach was fired after alleged discovery he sent inappropriate messages to students

The Bethel Police Department's emergency system experienced an outage on March 29, 2018.
Courtesy of the Bethel Police Department.
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Bethel police began an investigation on the Hooper Bay high school wrestling coach after inappropriate messages to a student were found.

Hooper Bay’s high school wrestling coach was turned over to Bethel police this weekend after the coach allegedly sent inappropriate messages to students. The coach has since been fired.

The Bethel Regional High School hosted the Bethel Wrestling Invitational this weekend. Teams from around the region flew into the hub city to compete, including the Hooper Bay Warriors.

Hooper Bay is part of the Lower Yukon School District. Superintendent Gene Stone said that early on the morning of Nov. 13, a female chaperone allegedly discovered the male head coach of the Hooper Bay team had sent inappropriate messages to a student wrestler via social media. Upon speaking with the wrestlers, Stone said that it was allegedly discovered that the coach sent inappropriate messages to at least one other student as well.

The female chaperone reported these messages to the Bethel Regional High School athletic director. Stone said that Bethel police removed the Hooper Bay coach from the school and began an investigation.

Bethel Police Chief Richard Simmons wrote in an email that Bethel Police and Alaska State Troopers are investigating allegations of inappropriate messaging and physical contact between the coach and a student. He said that neither police nor troopers have arrested the man, and no charges have been forwarded to the District Attorney.

Superintendent Stone said that the coach is a Hooper Bay resident who had been on a contract with the district for about a year. He said that the coach had undergone a background check and is no longer working for the district.

Stone said that the district informed all the wrestlers’ families about the incident. The team finished the tournament and returned home to Hooper Bay on Nov. 14. The school district is continuing to investigate whether the coach engaged in any other inappropriate conduct with students.

Bethel police ask that any person with information on this incident to either contact them at 907-543-3781 or Alaska State Troopers at 907-543-2294.

Greg Kim is a news reporter for KYUK covering environment, health, education, public safety, culture and subsistence. He's covered everything from Newtok's relocation due to climate change-fueled erosion to the Bethel chicken massacre of 2020.
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