BELLINGHAM - The head coach of a high school girls wrestling co-operative in Bellingham was arrested on suspicion of having sex with a 17-year-old female student and booked into Whatcom County Jail Friday, March 7, according to police.
Jaron Gerard Kensok, 35, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor and witness tampering, both Class C felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Police suspect Kensok and the student started texting and discreetly meeting to have sex off campus before and after school some time in late January, Bellingham Police spokesman Lt. Bob Vander Yacht said.
Although the student, who has since turned 18, reportedly was a willing participant in the relationship, under Washington state law no school employee or person in a supervisory role who is more than 60 months older than a student between the ages of 16 and 21 may have a relationship with that student, Vander Yacht said.
"They both were willing participants in this, but Mr. Kensok should not have used his position of authority to make that relationship happen," Vander Yacht said.
A credible source told Bellingham School District about the relationship on Feb. 20, and Kensok was placed on leave the next morning, Feb. 21, district spokeswoman Tanya Rowe said. Kensok is not a teacher in the district, and his coaching contract for the wrestling season, which lasts from December through late February, has ended.
The district told police about the relationship on Feb. 21, Vander Yacht said.
After Kensok found out police were investigating, he allegedly encouraged the victim to deny everything and delete all of their communications, Vander Yacht said.
The girls wrestling co-op has student athletes from all Bellingham high schools, Rowe said.
The date police were told about the relationship was updated March 8, 2014.