Isaac Yates wants to make sure the Central Kitsap School District protects students in the future.
That’s one reason why he and his mom, Lacey Tapia, are suing the district for $6 million.
A tort claim was filed Aug. 15 against the district, just weeks after former Olympic High School cheer coach Tyson Ebert was released from jail after serving a six-month sentence. The coach pled guilty to five counts of first-degree sexual misconduct and remains on probation as a registered sex offender.
Yates, 19, and his mother, a former district employee, filed the claim because of “the district’s failure to protect its minor high school students from the sexual predations of their employee.”
Yates’s attorney, Jeff Campiche, said that all the signs were there pointing to Ebert as a sexual predator, and Yates wants to use the legal proceedings to help other students.
“He wants there to be a change in the schools so that they do their job to protect against predations upon the students. He has a bit of a crusader look at this. He wants to make it a better world,” Campiche said.
Yates is one of at least three high school students raped in 2019 by Ebert, the claim says.
The tort claim points out Ebert’s constant grooming of students, which included distribution of alcohol to minors, holding unsupervised parties at his home, and inappropriate contact with multiple students, all things considered to be common knowledge of the student-athletes and even members of faculty and staff.
Some students had written letters to their principal expressing concerns about how Ebert made them feel uncomfortable and how some students were deemed by Ebert as “special students.”
“All of that the school slept through,” Campiche said. “They had written complaints from students about this before he raped Issac.”
Campiche said that because of the district’s failure to act, Ebert was allowed to continue to use his position of power as a coach and an educator to groom students, which in turn, also affected mothers such as Tapia.
“It’s all in the grooming. It’s all in telling the 16-year-old that your parents are really too controlling. You can emancipate yourself, and you can drink, and you can have sex, and you can do all this stuff,” Campiche said.
The attorney said that Yates is facing this case head-on in his attempt to find further justice for himself and the other students affected, even opting to use his name instead of remaining anonymous.
“Issac is a very thoughtful young man,” Capiche said. “He’s now a little older and more confident. He waited until he had the confidence to take any embarrassment that might go with this.”
The school district has 60 days to try and settle before the suit is officially filed.