Former private school principal sentenced, barred from girl

Man begs judge to allow relationship to resume sooner, saying he’s still in love

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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A former principal of a private Vancouver Christian school was given a three-year suspended sentence Friday in connection with a romantic relationship he had with a student.

Daniel F. Clark, 43, told a judge at his sentencing hearing that he was still in love with the girl, now 16, and pleaded with him to lift a no-contact order when she turns 18, so they could resume their relationship.

Instead, Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis imposed a 10-year no-contact order and threatened to jail Clark for three years if he came in any contact with the girl.

“I think your case is one of the strangest I’ve dealt with,” Lewis told Clark.

The former principal of Skyview Baptist Academy was convicted Wednesday by a Clark County Superior Court jury of residential burglary, two counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and violating a no-contact order.

The charges related to Clark’s entering the girl’s room at her family’s home one time last summer, between July 23 and Aug. 31, in violation of her father’s no-contact order. Clark was arrested Sept. 1.

Deputy Prosecutor Rachael Probst­feld said there were no allegations that the two had engaged in sexual intercourse, but they did develop a substantial emotional relationship and had kissed.

They fell in love and there was talk of marrying before she turned 18, Probst­feld said. She was 15 at the time.

Even with this evidence presented at trial, jurors did not return a finding that the residential burglary came with sexual motivation.

Jail time already served

Clark’s sentencing range on residential burglary was three to nine months; Lewis gave him the maximum sentence. With credit for the nearly nine months he’s been in jail, Clark will likely be released over the weekend, Probstfeld said.

If Clark violates the conditions of his community supervision in the next two years, he faces a three-year jail sentence, accounting for each of the other three misdemeanors.

Skyview Baptist Academy opened in 1976 as Columbia Ridge Baptist Academy, according to the school’s website. In 2009, Columbia Ridge Baptist Church and Clark County Baptist Church merged to open Skyview Baptist Church and Academy.

When reached Friday afternoon, Skyview officials said Clark was terminated well before his September arrest, but they declined further comment.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516 or laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.