KENT, Wash. - Local high school students are just starting to learn that one of their teachers was allegedly trolling the internet for sex with a teenager, and thought he found a cheerleader who was interested.
King County prosecutors say 27-year-old Kentridge High School teacher Brent Conley responded to an online personal ad entitled "student looking for older men."
Prosecutors say Conley sent emails and texts to the person he thought was a 15-year-old cheerleader. They say he described a number of sex acts he expected, and promised to pay $100, according to prosecutors.
Then Conley allegedly arranged to meet the girl at a McDonald's in Seattle's SODO area on the evening of Sept. 18th. But instead of finding a cheerleader agreeing to a sex act for $100, he found a Seattle detective.
That detective was actually behind the internet ad. Prosecutors say Conley was arrested and agreed to hand over his phone, which contained the incriminating texts and emails.
Students at Kentridge High School Tuesday night were stunned.
"He wasn't like creepy or anything," said Kentridge High Dance Team member Elysia Krupp. "He was, like, a pretty good teacher. He was one of my favorites. It was actually kind of weird to hear that that happened."
Other students said they had noticed Conley's classes had substitute teachers for the last few days. Now they know why.
Kent School District Communications Director Chris Loftis says Conley was hired just last month to teach social studies and English, and Conley passed their background checks.
There were no read flags about anything in his past. He knows of no problems in the Marysville School District where Conley worked as a substitute teacher before getting hired full time by Kent.
"Sometimes bad people find a way to get into good organizations," Loftis said. "If that happened here, we'll have to find even more ways to tighten our procedures and policies."
The district sent out a letter to staff telling them about the arrest on Tuesday. Another announcement will go to students and parents Wednesday.
Conley can not return to the classroom.
He is out on bail, but no one answered the door when KIRO 7 went to his address. It is the same address where police said he planned to take the cheerleader to have sex.
Neighbors say they think he moved into the home with a woman within the last several months. They never noticed anything suspicious.
Conley faces charges of attempted commercial sexual abuse of a minor. Prosecutors say they have statements from him on paper and on videotape about his role in the incident.
“The defendant is a danger to children given the circumstances of this crime where he tired to meet with a 15-year-old girl in order to have sex with her in exchange for money,” Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Carol D. Spoor wrote in court documents. “The defendant’s intentions were clear from his e-mail correspondence and he admitted to the detective that he intended to have sex with the girl.”
Conley bailed out of King County Jail and is expected to have an arraignment, where he’ll enter a plea, next month.