PROSSER — The former mayor of Prosser tried to keep hidden her alleged sexual contact with a Prosser High School student, telling him not to reveal their relationship, according to new information released this week to the Herald.
Linda Lusk, 49, also tried to stop the rumors about their relationship by contacting the boy's parents to try to allay their concerns, the investigative reports indicate.
And she also reportedly called the boy's coach in an attempt to suppress the story about her luring the 14-year-old into a sexual encounter April 27 at her home. The teen had confided to his coach the day before Lusk called him.
As the information spread following Memorial Day, Lusk ended up admitting to her husband, who is the Prosser High principal, that she had been sexting with the boy who had been a frequent visitor to their home and who was a friend of their daughter, the documents indicate.
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But Lusk apparently did not mention to anyone what the investigation later alleged about her sexual contact with the teen.
That began to come out over the next week as police interviewed a dozen potential witnesses.
The Herald obtained the latest set of police investigative records after hiring an attorney to go to court to obtain them following initial public records requests in June from the Prosser School District, Prosser Police Department and Benton County Sheriff's Office.
The name of the boy and the witnesses that police interviewed were blacked out from the records. And the Herald has a policy not to publish the name of anyone who reports being a sexual assault victim.
Lusk is charged with felony third-degree child molestation. She's pleaded innocent and her trial is set for Sept. 27.
The records reveal the boy's mother told police in a June 3 interview that Lusk tried to set up a meeting with her and the boy's father so they wouldn't be "blindsided" by the rumors.
"(Lusk) said, 'I have grown fond of your son over the last few years ... we've been texting each other ... it's really gotten out of hand ... and it was inappropriate on my part,' " the mother told police.
"(Lusk) said she was sick to her stomach and if she could go back in time that she would," the mother added.
"(Lusk) said she was sorry ... (my son's) friends were talking and ... she just wanted to speak with us before we were blindsided about it all," the mother said.
The boy's mother also told police she wanted Lusk prosecuted. "As a mother I'm sickened. Do I think that she should have to pay somehow? You're damn right I do," she said.
In addition, the mother told police her son said Lusk asked him not to tell.
"I said (to my son) has she ever asked you to keep quiet? And he said 'Yeah,' " the mother told police.
The coach also talked with police and told them Lusk called June 1, concerned about the rumors.
"She wanted to tell me it was not true and most of all she wanted to, umm, confront (the boy), with me only present," the coach told police.
The teen had talked to fellow team members and the coach about the relationship at a team awards dinner.
"(That) conversation with her is what pushed me over the edge to (believing) that this was all true," the coach said.