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Tacoma teacher pleads not guilty to raping student, bail set at $75,000

Post by Debbie Cafazzo / The News Tribune on July 6, 2012 at 11:53 am with 36 Comments »
July 6, 2012 12:32 pm

A Tacoma teacher
accused of having sex with a 12-year-old sixth grader pleaded not guilty to five counts of second degree child rape Friday.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan set bail at $75,000 for 33-year-old Keshia Shaw of Puyallup, a teacher at Gray Middle School in Tacoma. The judge also ordered Shaw to have no contact with minors, with the exception of her own daughters, ages 6 and 8.
Shaw was taken into custody following her arraignment.

She remains on paid administrative leave from the Tacoma School District. Her annual salary is $58,584.

Prosecutors allege that five years ago Shaw had sex with the boy. They say encounters took place both at school and in the boy’s bedroom, while his mother was at work.

Shaw’s attorney Mike Kelly said after court proceedings Friday that he could not discuss the allegations.

“We entered pleas of not guilty, and we believe in those pleas,” he said.

The victim, now 17, came forward with the accusations after listening to a church sermon on sexual abuse, according to Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. After hearing the sermon, he told his mother, who then told a family friend. That friend informed authorities.

Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. cclngthr says:

    She will get off with a slap on the wrist and not have to register as a sex offender..

    Veronica Dawkins’ rape charge ended up as a 4th degree assault charge. Nelson Hanton, John McDonald, and Ron Bauer spent 5-7 months in jail for their rape charges and did not have to register as a sex offender..

    In my mind, anytime a school staff member does this, the mandatory charge applicable must be rape and automatic registration as a sex offender. No plea deals are applicable.

  2. Chippert says:

    As usual you have already convicted her without benefit of a trial or even any evidence. Good job. Too bad all of our judges are not like you. We could certainly streamline things a lot. Just arrest ‘em, charge ‘em, sentence ‘em and throw ‘em in prison. We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence.

    And that would certainly help the economy, what with all the new jobs opening up to build jails and prisons and staff them.

  3. tommy98466 says:

    cclngthr… how could someone be charged, found guilty and serve 5-7 months in prison for rape and not be required to register as a sex offender? Be more specific please. Like where and when were these crimes committed?

  4. BigSwingingRichard says:

    It will be interesting to see, if convicted, she does the same time as a male teacher who had sex with a 12 year old girl would get or if they let her plead to a misdemeanor like 4th degree assault.

  5. mojjonation says:

    It’s Washington State. Would anyone be surprised if she was released because she was teaching him reproductive education?

  6. spotted1 says:

    I am totally with BigSwinging on this one. If she is convicted of what she has been charged with, then she needs to serve the same time as a male would with this charge. None of the “oh she is a woman so it is not the same” stuff.

  7. cclngthr says:


    John McDonald served 7 months (know this due to information on the OSPI Disciplinary Actions website) and is not on the sex offender registry of any level (have a friend who has access to the registry with levels 1, 2 and 3). Nelson Hanton also spent less than a year in jail and also is not on the registry.

    I think teachers and other professionals need to be held to a much higher standard, and when they commit such crimes, they must be held to that higher standard; all because they have passed the screening and are supposed to be a “trusted” person with kids.

  8. cclngthr says:

    Part of the problem here is the SSOSA program, which allows judges to allow teachers to enter the Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative which dramstically reduces the sentence option available and offers treatment and reduces the time the teacher is on the sex offender registry; even if that is applicable.

    I think, as I said before, IF a teacher, who previously has been screened for crimes and other issues required, they must be held to that higher standard and if/when they commit a offense involving kids, not only their teaching certificate is revoked, their crime cannot be plead down at any time or reason.

  9. Fibonacci says:

    So, if the offender was a babysitter, hairdresser, pharmacist, car mechanic, Indian Chief, Cowboy, Race Car Driver, garbage man, doctor, or whatever, they should have a lighter sentence than a teacher? If my child were molested, the JOB that the person had, (and yes, I DO understand your arguments about teachers) would not matter. I would want them ALL to be prosecuted and punished. I don’t want the punishment to be determined by the JOB they have.

  10. cclngthr says:

    I think, since TEACHERS and like personnel have the position of unsupervised access to kids through work, AND they have already went through screening through FBI and state for such crimes, they should be held to a higher standard.

    Part of my frustration is I routinely see teachers charged with sex offenses, but get a much lighter sentence, likely due to their position as a teacher. Why was Veronica Dawkins, a teacher, able to receive a 4th degree assault charge when in fact she violated the sexual misconduct with a minor statute, and was able to avoid registring as a sex offender. Why was John McDoland and Nelson Hanton able to receive a 7 month sentence and not the typical 5 year sentence usually given to people? My brother, in the mid 80’s received a 3 year incest sentence, and he was no teacher.

  11. Fibonacci says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying teachers should get off easy, far from it. I just don’t get what you mean when you say they should be held to a higher standard. Exactly what do you mean by that, I can only read into that that you think they deserve a more harsh punishment. I am saying as a parent I would never feel “My God, I am so glad my child was molested by someone other than a teacher, THAT would have been so much worse.” I want ALL child molesters held to the SAME high standard. I really don’t care if a teacher has been screened by the FBI, who the hell cares? I want ALL molesters treated with the same high standard you seem to feel teachers deserve. I am NOT advocating for lesser sentences for teachers, I am advocating for the maximum REGARDLESS of the persons job.

  12. cclngthr says:

    I think teachers are given an easier sentence now, as those examples show. Dawkins was ABLE to talk her way out of a SMWM charge and receive a 4th degree assault. McDonald was able to talk his way out of a standard 5 year sentence and only spend 7 months in jail.

    To me, as I see it, teachers are now given a much shorter sentences; likely due to their image of a teacher. I think teachers need to have stiffer sentences because their job requires them to be a “trusted individual” by society where they don’t molest kids.

    My older brother received a 3 year sentence for incest, and if a teacher were convicted of that crime, I think they should receive more than 3 years (or at least a minimum of 3 years) if that is the sentencing guidelines.

    I also think teachers need to be disqualified for any SSOSA sentence due to their position.

  13. Has anyone followed up on the male teachers’ sentences? The recent one has not been charged yet, don’t know what happened to the security guard at the same school. The college instructor at TCC? (sex with a 16 year old) or even the male teacher from ten years ago at the same school/ position as the recent one? Seems to me they received NO criminal sentences or even their photo in the paper with the salacious details of the assault- alleged. My point? I want to know why the male teachers don’t get their photos on the front page like this teacher or Mary Kay L? Just saying for all those posters stating that the male teachers would be treated far worse. Bottom line though is it is wrong and deserves the toughest sentence under the law. ccglnthr? What say you about coaches and priests?

  14. cclngthr says:


    I think these teachers, male or female, should receive the mandatory maximum allowable with zero SSOSA.

    If you look at my examples, both John McDonald and Nelson Hanton spent time in jail. Veronica Dawkins did not.

    Coaches/priests are people who also work with kids/people. They too also need to be held to that high standard where mandatory maximum sentences are issued. Should have Paterno been charged with sexual assault? In my mind, he knew it was going on, and did absolutely nothing and should face the same charge. Although Sandusky did the crime, those who knew about it are just as guilty. Same with priests. If a priest is told about any kind of abuse, even in a confession, they must report it to authorities.

    Publishing names/pictures should be mandatory.

  15. whatthehell says:

    yeah me too if she didnt service me everyday i’d turn her in.

    and if she forgot to…….well, I cant say it here, but if she didnt, I’d turn her for that infraction too..let’s just say she’d never go hungry

  16. cclngthr- I agree, a sex offender of any kind cannot be rehabilitated. None should receive special treatment.

  17. cclngthr says:

    No they can’t.

  18. WhatInThe says:

    commandtiger & whatthehell you’re fools

  19. alindasue says:

    cclngthr said, “Publishing names/pictures should be mandatory.”

    Maybe so, but only after – and IF – the person is found guilty of the sexual assault in a court of law. (Trial by press doesn’t count.)

  20. cclngthr says:


    If a person is accused if sexual assault, they put themselves in a position where they CAN be accused of sexual assault.

    Publishing names/pictures of the “ACCUSED also means exactly that. They placed themselves where they can be accused of it. Knowing your environment should be standard procedure here. If you think a person is shady, why not have another person you know who isn’t shady with you during that time? Same thing about the regular boundaries with other people.

    I particularly don’t like it when people strip young kids butt naked out in the open; particularly around me. That crosses the sexual boundary of that kid. It does not mstter what age that kid is.

    It no longer is wise to transport any kid that is not your own; even extended family members. I don’t have kids in my car except when the legal parent is in the car with me. Same with my house. I hate to be that way, but I must due to the climate we now live in.

  21. I’m with Commandtiger. If it had been me, I would still be sending her thank you notes.

  22. donaldshelton47 says:

    Please look at the following page

    It clearly shows that Nelson Hanton is a registered sex offender.

  23. @mojjonation

    That would be the Progressive thing to do.

  24. Since when does a young high school teacher make $60 grand a year? I thought they are always grousing about not being paid well.

  25. Must have4 been an awfully big 12 year old!

  26. cclngthr says:

    Ron Bauer and John McDonald is not on that list. Neither is Veronica Dawkins.

  27. donaldshelton47 says:

    I realize that Bauer, Macdonald, and Dawkins aren’t on the list. Why, then, is Hanton the only one? BTW I worked with both Mr. Hanton and Mrs. Dawkins- Both were very fine teachers to work with.

  28. conservativeteacher says:

    Knowing her and having attended conferences with her, this was a total shocker. That should be a minimum sentence for teachers that do this.

  29. aj1967? Actually, it looks like she would have to have her Masters Degree (according to the salary schedule, her age and years of being a teacher) which when you compare that with the degree and other professions with a Masters Degree- the salary is leaning on the low side of the scale.

  30. alindasue says:

    cclngthr said, “If a person is accused if sexual assault, they put themselves in a position where they CAN be accused of sexual assault.”

    That’s as bad as saying that just because a woman is lightly dressed and walking down South Tacoma Way, she’s put herself in a position to be accused of prostitution. Until schools are funded to the point that every class has at least two teachers and an aid AND constant cameras everywhere, there will always be unavoidable opportunities to “put themselves in a position where they can be accused” of sexual assault or any other impropriety. Even a person who never does anything remotely questionable CAN BE ACCUSED. That doesn’t automatically mean that person actually did anything wrong. That is for the courts examining the evidence to decide.

    “It no longer is wise to transport any kid that is not your own; even extended family members.”

    By that reasoning, why stop at extended family members? There have been cases of a child being molested by his or her own parent. How about we say that a parent should never ever be alone with his or her own child because that is putting him or her in a position where he or she “CAN be accused” of incest.

    Where does “put themselves in a position where they CAN be accused of sexual assault” end? There are guidelines in schools – but even with those guidelines, there will be occasions where a teacher through no fault of his or her own might be falsely accused of something by a child or parent.

    Yes, IF AND WHEN a teacher is found guilty of sexually assaulting a child, then punish that teacher to the full extent of the law. Put that teachers name and picture in the paper and on the registration lists. Take away the ability to teach children.

    However, an accusation alone does not make a person guilty. THAT will be determined based on the evidence presented in the court of law.

  31. cclngthr says:

    I have worked with all of them at one point or another; and have covered for them as well. Also know Shaw.

    I’m assuming the reason why Bauer and McDonald is not on the list due to the SSOSA alternative sentencing they got, which allowed them to avoid being put on the list.


    I’m limiting this discussion to teachers only for now. Teachers now have to be very cautious around kids and must be wary of what they do around kids so they won’t be accused.

    If a person, as you say never does anything remotely questionable around kids can be accused, that persons actions would be verified and the accusation would be false because there would be no legal reason to accuse that person since the actions would not support the accusation.

    I still believe the false allegations are reduced by watching one’s behavior around kids and making sure the behavior does not support the idea that one can be construed as a pervert.

  32. cclngthr says:


    The goal of the boundary invasion policy is to avoid the possibility of being accused by prohibiting certain forms of interaction with students.

    Unacceptable Conduct
    Examples of inappropriate boundary invasions by staff members include, but are not limited to, the following:
     Any type of inappropriate physical contact or communication with a student or any other conduct that violates the Board’s policies on Employee Conduct (Policy 5010), Harassment Intimidation and Bullying (Policy 5207), Non- Discrimination (Policy 5265),
    or Sexual Harassment ( Policy 5266), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), or the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (Chapter 49.60 RCW), constitutes misconduct under RCW 28A.640 and .642 or WAC 181-88-060, or any conduct between staff and students that would constitute a violation of Chapter 9A.44 or 9A.88 RCW;
     Showing pornography to a student;
     Singling out a particular student or students for personal attention and friendship beyond the professional staff/student relationship;
     Socializing where students are consuming alcohol, drugs or tobacco or providing alcohol, drugs, or tobacco to students;
     For non-guidance/counseling staff, encouraging students to confide their personal or family problems and/or relationships. If a student initiates such discussions, staff members are expected to refer the student to appropriate guidance/counseling staff. In either case, staff involvement should be limited to a direct connection to the student’s school performance;
     Sending or taking students on personal errands unrelated to any educational purpose;
     Banter, allusions, jokes or innuendos of a sexual nature with students;
     Disclosing personal, sexual, family, employment concerns, or other private matters to one or more students;
     Addressing students, or permitting students to address staff members with personalized terms of endearment, pet names, or otherwise in an overly familiar manner;
     Maintaining personal contact with a student outside of school by electronic means such as Instant Messenger or Internet chat rooms or social networking Web sites;
     Sending phone, email, text messages, or other forms of written or electronic communication to students when the communication is unrelated to school work or other legitimate school business;
     Exchanging personal gifts, cards or letters with an individual student which are unrelated to school activities;
     Socializing or spending time with students (including but not limited to activities such as going out for beverages, meals or movies, shopping, traveling, and recreational activities) outside of school-sponsored events, except as participants in organized community activities;
     Giving a student a ride alone in a vehicle in a non-emergency situation; and/or
     Unnecessarily invading a student’s privacy, (e.g. intentionally walking in on the student in the bathroom).

    Appearances of Impropriety
    The following activities can create an actual impropriety or the appearance of impropriety. Whenever possible, staff should avoid these situations. If unavoidable, these activities should be pre-approved by the appropriate administrator. If not pre-approved, the staff person must report the occurrence, to the appropriate administrator, as soon as possible.
     Being alone with an individual student out of the view of others;
     Inviting or allowing individual students to visit the staff member’s home unless other adults are present, the student(s) are invited for an activity related to school, and the student’s parent or guardian is informed and has consented;
     Visiting a student, in his/her home, unless invited by the student’s parent or guardian as part of a school activity; and/or
     Sending e-mails, text messages or other electronic communications to the student, even when the communication relates to school business, except where the parent or guardian has consented to such communications and receives a copy of the communication. Staff should use school e-mail address and phone numbers and the parents’ phone numbers for communications with students, except in an emergency situation.

  33. alindasue says:


    It was not necessary to post the entire boundary invasion policy, although there was no harm in doing so.

    It doesn’t change the fact that the teacher is ACCUSED of violating parts of the policy. Your supposition seems to be that because she was accused of doing so, she must have done so and put herself in that position. While that may in the end prove to be the case, I still hold to my statement that a person can be accused of violating those policies without having actually done so. That is for the courts to decide.

    Until then, figuratively flogging the “sex offender” in public without a guilty verdict is no better than a witch hunt.

  34. cclngthr says:

    I did not post the penalty portion nor the reporting requirements of the policy.

    The policy REQUIRES staff to report it to the building principal and to HR as soon as possible. The policy also requires the same staff member who reports such act of “SUSPECTED” sexual/child abuse by staff to CPS and law enforcement. Notifying the building principal only is not sufficient to comply with state/federal regulations regarding reporting child abuse. They must also report it to state authorities.

    The penalty of violating the policy, whether intentional or unintentional includes disciplinary action by HR up to termination of employment AND the violation also is reported to OSPI Office of Professional Practices.

    While you think it is possible to violate the policy without doing so, we are instructed in trainings (which must occur every 3 years) to avoid all possible actions which violate the policy. If we see a student outside of school/class (in the neighborhood or store) we must avoid all contact by ignoring that person/family.

    Having a dual relationship (familial and professional) is strongly discouraged because it is construed as impropriety and favoritism toward that student.

  35. MyBandito says:

    To Debbie Cafazzo-

    You should remember to use the term “alleged victim” or “accuser” when referring to that 17 year old young man. Otherwise, it appears that the TNT has determined that the accused is guilty.

  36. TheManFromTaco says:

    “If we see a student outside of school/class (in the neighborhood or store) we must avoid all contact by ignoring that person/family.”

    Wow, things have gotten ridiculous.

    You are *required* to be downright rude to somebody by refusing to even acknowledge their very existence if you happen to walk by them in public somewhere? How devastating is that for kids with low self-esteem?

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