Teacher on leave during Port Angeles school review

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Stevens Middle School teacher Paul Brinkmann remains on administrative leave after rape and molestation charges were dismissed.

The charges were dropped two weeks ago.

He remains on administrative leave “as a precaution” while the Port Angeles School District conducts its own review, Superintendent Jane Pryne said this week.

“Under the law, the teacher has been presumed innocent,” Pryne said Tuesday in an email. “However, as a precaution, the teacher had been on administrative leave pending further investigation.”

Brinkmann, arrested March 2, 2012, had been charged with two counts of first-degree child molestation, four counts of second-degree rape of a child, three counts of third-degree rape of a child and one count of second-degree rape by forcible compulsion.

He has been on leave since his arrest.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge S. Brooke Taylor dismissed the charges April 5 after the alleged victim refused to testify at Brinkmann’s trial, which was scheduled to begin Monday.

Not a student

The alleged victim was not a student at Stevens, where Brinkmann, 47, teaches math.

“We have taken the criminal allegations very seriously,” Pryne said. “Now that the charges have been dismissed, the district is in the process of re-evaluating this matter.

“The district is unable to comment further at this time.”

Port Angeles lawyer Karen Unger, representing Brinkmann, said he is working elsewhere.

She said it was her “understanding” that Brinkmann, whose initial court appearances drew courtrooms packed with supporters, is now on paid administrative leave.

Pryne did not return calls this week asking if his leave is paid or unpaid.

Unger said she did not know how long the school district investigation would last.

“We are not driving this train, so we just have to wait until we go through their process,” Unger said.

“He’s devastated by this whole experience,” she added. “He was accused of being a sex offender, and that’s what everybody remembers.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 18. 2013 5:52PM
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