Thursday, May 5, 2016

Spokane County deputy fired for sexual relationship with student

Posted By on Thu, May 5, 2016 at 5:21 PM

A Spokane County Sheriff's deputy was fired today for having sexual relationship with a high school student while he was serving as a school resource deputy.

Former Deputy Cole Speer had been with the Sheriff's Office for 10 years, and worked as a school resource officer since at least 2011. The relationship began during the student's senior year, after she'd turned 18, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich says, and continued until February 2016, eight months after she graduated.

"Deputy Speer was charged with watching over one of the greatest assets and treasures that our community has — our children," Knezovich says. "In no way can that type of activity ever be condoned."

Speer, who is married with kids, was put on administrative leave back in February and it wasn't until the Sheriff's Office finished its investigation that he admitted to the relationship, Knezovich says. Part of that investigation included text messages exchanged between Speer and the student. 

The Washington State Patrol conducted a criminal investigation that currently awaits a decision from the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office. Knezovich says WSP made no charging recommendations because neither Speer, nor the student, were willing to cooperate. 

"He has disgraced not only his community, his agency, his peers and entire profession," Knezovich says. "He will never wear a badge in the state of Washington if I can ever have anything to say about it." 

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Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.