Decatur High School security officer Derek Aparis. (Image via Federal Public Schools Facebook page)

Decatur High School security officer Derek Aparis. (Image via Federal Public Schools Facebook page)

Decatur High security guard charged with sexual misconduct with student

Derek Aparis worked for Federal Way Public Schools

Decatur High School security guard Derek Aparis has been charged with first-degree sexual misconduct in a case alleging he had an inappropriate relationship with a student at the school this winter.

Aparis, 46, turned himself in the morning of March 8 to the Federal Way Police Department. He has been placed on leave from his employment with the district. Prosecutors asked, and a judge agreed, to set Aparis’ bail at $50,000, according to King County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Casey McNerthney. Aparis was released on bond from the King County jail on March 10, according to jail records.

A criminal charge is an accusation of wrongdoing; Aparis has not yet been convicted and will have an opportunity to enter a plea at his arraignment on March 23.

Prosecutors allege in Aparis’ charging documents that he abused his supervisory position with a then 17-year-old student for sex.

“Not only did the defendant use his school employment to gain access to the female students, but he also committed several of these sexual acts with the victim on school property,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant also had previously engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old girl ... who was also a student at the school. The defendant repeatedly told this 15-year-old that he wanted to have a baby with her.”

The police investigation began Jan. 27, 2023, according to charging documents, when Decatur Principal Jamie Tough called 911 to report a possible inappropriate relationship between Aparis and a student. Tough told an investigating school resource officer that three non-students had visited to file a complaint about Aparis.

The student allowed officers to inspect her text message history with the contact listed as Aparis, who at various points discussed their relationship and would invite her to come visit him at the school. The phone number was corroborated by a school resource officer to be Aparis’ work phone, according to documents.

A search through Aparis’ work phone data by detectives turned up no visible messages to or from the student, but a forensic evaluation revealed messages consistent with those on the student’s cellphone, along with dates that apparently showed when the messages had been deleted from Aparis’ phone, according to documents.

The encounters with the student occurred in December 2022 and twice in January 2023, prosecutors said. The student told an investigating officer that Aparis came to her place of work a day after the third encounter, after being placed on administrative leave, and told her to deny everything if questioned about their relationship.

The principal also shared security camera footage with officers of an occasion when the student entered Aparis’ office and remained with him in there for about 15 minutes, according to documents.

Information about the alleged misconduct came to light after a former student found out about the victim in this case, that former student previously told the Federal Way Mirror newspaper. In a phone call on Feb. 8, the former student said she was also involved with the security officer when she attended Decatur High School. The Mirror confirmed the former student’s identity with the Federal Way Police Department, and granted the person anonymity because of the nature of the incident.

During her sophomore year in 2019, the former student — who was 15 at the time — said the security officer helped her with school work and they talked about her home or school life, but later he allegedly began making comments about her body and legs, and was saying he wanted to have kids with her. She also claimed he gave her alcohol and cannabis edibles while she attended the high school.

About two years later, she said she went to Decatur to sell the security officer a pair of shoes. The former student, then 18, said the security officer closed both doors to his office and allegedly began grabbing her arm and kissing her.

RESOURCES

If a student you know has had inappropriate interactions with this staff member, or if they witnessed such behavior, contact Federal Way Police Detective Richard Adams at 253-835-6795 or Richard.adams@cityoffederalway.com.

Anyone with concerns or questions about sexual assault or harassment can talk to local experts at the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center at 888-998-6423. Additional resources are also available at Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress at 206-744-1600 or https://depts.washington.edu/hcsats/resources.html.

For any FWPS-related questions or concerns, contact Diane Ellis at 253-945-2049.


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