Skyview teacher Botnen makes first court appearance

Faces charges of having sex with student

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

Updated: October 8, 2010, 5:57 PM

 

A Skyview High School science teacher arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexual misconduct with a student made his first court appearance on Friday.

Nathan J. Botnen, 33, faces 30 counts of sexual misconduct with one student, said Mike Dodds, a deputy prosecuting attorney.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Rich Melnick, who was reviewing booking documents that include a defendant’s income, told Botnen that he does not qualify for a court-appointed attorney.

Melnick asked Botnen if he planned to hire an attorney.

“Probably. I don’t know, sir,” Botnen said.

Melnick asked him how long he thought it would take to hire an attorney.

“I don’t know. I’ve never done this before,” Botnen said.

Melnick set arraignment for Oct. 15 and told Botnen that if he was unable to hire an attorney the court would consider appointing one.

Meanwhile, Botnen will be in the Clark County jail on $100,000 bail.

Dodds said the alleged victim’s mother contacted law enforcement. Botnen and the student allegedly had a relationship that lasted nine months, Dodds said.

After the brief court appearance, Sgt. Kevin Allais of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said the relationship was during the 2007-08 school year, and the alleged victim was a student of Botnen’s. Allais said the teenager’s mother discovered alarming text messages on her daughter’s phone two years ago, but didn’t confront her daughter because she was worried about damaging their relationship.

Tuesday’s arrest of a privately paid Skyview High School band assistant, who allegedly became sexually involved with two students, prompted the mother to contact the school district, Allais said.

Allais said the statute of limitations for sexual misconduct with a minor is three years.

While the age of consent in Washington is 16, it’s a crime for a teacher, coach or any other adult in a “position of an authority” to have sex with a 16- or 17-year-old, Allais said.

Botnen has been married for 10 years and has three children, according to his Facebook page. His wife also teaches at Skyview.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, written by Detective Lindsay Schultz, the alleged victim said on Thursday that during her nine-month relationship with Botnen they had sex at least 30 times.

Schultz then contacted Botnen.

“During an interview with Botnen, he confirmed that he had an inappropriate relationship with (the alleged victim) while he was a teacher and she was a student at Skyview. Botnen confirmed that during the relationship, sexual intercourse occurred at least 30 times. When asked, Botnen said he was aware that his relationship with (the alleged victim) was wrong and violated the law and school policies,” Schultz wrote.

Botnen will be on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of his case.