School board heard appeal on Wednesday night
by: Submitted photo, Don King

Former swim coach and lifeguard Don King, 67, did not get his job back after an appeal to the Lake Oswego School Board on Wednesday, July 16. The Lake Oswego School District fired King on June 3 for inappropriate physical contact with children, which was described as sexual harassment according to school board policy.

Though it was a unanimous decision to uphold the original firing, some of the board members want to remain open to the possibility of having King Swimming continue practicing at the district pool as a private club.

King was on paid administrative leave from the school district since his arrest last July on Linn County charges that he had sexually abused junior-high school girl swimmers. Similar charges in Clackamas County were leveled later, only to be dismissed after the Linn County jury found him not guilty of six counts of sex abuse.

At the appeal hearing, his lawyer Richard D. Cohen, claimed there were several flaws in the process including the district's failure to notify King with probation or some other action first and children who felt that words had been put in their mouths by law enforcement.

'He was clearly a victim of a slipshod investigation,' said board member Bill Swindells, after hearing the testimonies of swim parents who described him as 'grandfatherly.'

King and his lawyer prepared a written waiver for parents who choose to allow their children to continue swimming with King Swimming. The LOSD has not had time to get legal advice about the waiver, yet.

'I want to teach and I want to coach. I think I have a few good years left in me and I'll do whatever it takes,' said King.

A longer story will follow in the Thursday, July 24, issue of the Review.

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