Another day, another teacher is caught with her pants down with one of her under-age students. The culprit this time is 33-year-old Taryn Fairbanks, an English teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington.
Fairbanks, who was hired under the name Taryn Stermer prior to getting married, began her tenure at Garfield High School in 2006 and had submitted her resignation June 1, effective June 30. The alleged incident took place on June 23, just one day after school had dismissed for the summer. An unnamed 17-year-old student was having a party at his parent’s house while they were out of town and Fairbanks reportedly stopped by to drop off “some T-shirts and supplies for the school newspaper retreat.”
From The Seattle Times:
Police said Fairbanks talked about the sex act and indicated she has “an issue with alcohol” and was “in the midst of an alcohol relapse at the time of the incident,” according to the police report.
The incident was first reported to police after a parent found references to the teacher’s sex acts on her daughter’s cell phone. The police report states, “rumors of the teacher’s sexual activity were widespread among students at Garfield, and even among students at other schools.” (In this day and age stories like that don’t take long to spread among teenagers!)
Since this incident came to light, another former student of Fairbanks’ has told police that he too had a sexual encounter with her, but it occured when he was 19 and after he had graduated.
Fairbanks reportedly moved to Las Vegas, where she was born and raised, the day after her resignation took effect on June 30.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Cecelia Gregson is seeking Fairbanks’ arrest and is asking that she be held in the King County Jail on $50,000 bail. If convicted, Fairbanks faces up to a year in jail, prosecutors said.
A letter was issued to the families of nearly 1800 students who attend Garfield High. Here is the letter:
Dear Garfield Families:
This letter is being sent to you to share important information and to assure you that student safety is a priority at Garfield High School.
On Thursday, July 8, 2010, the Seattle Police Department’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit formally informed the District that they are pursuing a criminal report involving Taryn Fairbanks, previously known as Taryn Stermer. Ms. Fairbanks is a former Language Arts teacher and former advisor of The Garfield Messenger at Garfield High School. The investigation of Ms. Fairbanks was undertaken after information was provided to the Seattle Police Department that Ms. Fairbanks may have attended a recent non-Garfield sponsored evening event on or around June 23, 2010 and engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor.
Parents may understandably be concerned that any trusted adult who may have had contact with their young person is being investigated for sexual misconduct. The District shares these concerns and is cooperating fully with the Seattle Police Department. At this time, Ms. Fairbanks has been instructed not to have any written, electronic or direct communications with any Garfield students or return to any Seattle Public School events. If your student has indicated that he or she may have been subject to sexual contact by Ms. Fairbanks, or has information relevant to the sexual misconduct investigation, please contact Detective Donna Stangeland with the Seattle Police Department at (206) ***-****.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. I also wanted to make sure that all our families have the most up to date resource and support related to this topic. Today, I have been in contact with our local experts, Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, to let them know that our families may need their assistance. Please feel free to contact the Center at (206) ***-**** if you would like to discuss any general questions regarding this topic. The Center also provides information on its website at ********.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by email at *******@seattleschools.org. Thank you for your assistance in keeping our youth safe and establishing a climate of communication and safety.
Ted Howard II
UPDATE – Taryn Fairbanks has pleaded guilty to the charges. From SeattlePI.com:
Taryn M. Fairbanks, 34, now faces six months to a year in jail after pleading guilty to first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor, a felony.
“I abused my supervisory position as a teacher in order to engage in sexual intercourse with A.B.,” Fairbanks wrote in court documents, using the teen’s initials.
She will be sentenced April 8.