Olathe Northwest wrestling coach fired, then arrested
OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) - A man who, until recently, was Olathe Northwest High School’s head wrestling coach and physical education teacher is facing felony charges, accused of having sex with a student.
According to an employment history check with district staff, 47-year-old Steven Mesa had been teaching for Olathe Public Schools for 21 years prior to being fired.
A district spokesperson said Mesa was placed on leave the moment the district became aware of the accusations against him. District records show he was fired by the Board of Education soon after on Sep. 1.
“I still know in his heart that he’s a good person,” said Noah Conover.
Conover is an Olathe Northwest senior who has been a wrestler since his freshman year.
He doesn’t doubt the validity of the accusations but said they don’t fit the character of the man he knows.
“I mean, I’ve known him for a very long time. He’s taught me so much about like-- he’s taught me life lessons,” said Conover. “I know who he is and it kind of hurts to see this. But at the same time, I mean, I still love him.”
Mesa was arrested Wednesday afternoon after being charged with three counts of unlawful sexual relations, which is a felony. The charges indicate the crimes happened between July 1 and Aug. 26. It lists the same victim initials for each count.
The age of consent in Kansas is 16. The crime is specific to being a school employee in a position of authority.
Each count alleges he engaged “in consensual sexual intercourse with a person 16 or more years old… who was not married to the offender, while the offender was a teacher or other person in a position of authority, while [the victim] was a student enrolled at the school where the offender was employed.”
The victim’s age is not specified but the court document does provide a year of birth: 2005. That would make the victim 16 or 17 years old.
The charging documents don’t indicate how the authorities were made aware of the allegations. However, the witness list includes “SnapChat, Inc. Personnel.”
Mesa’s bond is set at $100,000. Current bond conditions include house arrest with a GPS monitoring device and not going within 100 yards of the victim’s home or workplace.
His first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 22.
The school district released the following statement on the matter:
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