A Kennewick middle school teacher was charged Wednesday with sending sexually explicit photos and videos of herself to at least four male students.
Tonie Ann Reiboldt, 43, appeared in Benton County Superior Court and pleaded innocent to the charges.
The physical education teacher at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School was booked at the jail after her hearing and posted $15,000 bail.
She is on paid leave from her job.
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Judge Alex Ekstrom ordered her to have no contact with minors, adding that another adult must be present whenever Reiboldt is around her own two sons.
There are no reports of misconduct with her boys.
Ekstrom said what concerns him are allegations Reiboldt accessed her older son’s Snapchat account to get the contact information of his friend, a reported victim.
Reiboldt’s attorney, John Jensen, argued for no restrictions between his client and her children, saying her husband also is a teacher and for the most part will be home with them all summer.
“(Her sons) already are going to be made a victim in some sense (because) of the publicity that will follow this case,” he said.
Kennewick police started investigating June 15 after a detective’s daughter reported that a sexually explicit video of a woman was distributed to underage kids through Snapchat, the social media app.
Deputy Prosecutor Megan Whitmire told the court that a colleague’s daughter also had heard about it.
Then, police learned the woman was a Kennewick School District teacher.
“This is obviously a very concerning case and the investigation is one that is ongoing,” Whitmire said. “These explicit materials allegedly sent by (Reiboldt) have been widespread.”
Reiboldt is charged with three counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, a felony. Each count includes the aggravating circumstance that she allegedly used her position of trust to commit the crime.
Her trial date is Sept. 19. Reiboldt has no criminal history. The maximum she could face for the crime is five years in prison, Whitmire said.
Kennewick police Sgt. Ken Lattin said the investigation has revealed the videos were sent to several boys under 16.
Only one of the boys said Reiboldt was his actual teacher. The other students said they knew of her at school.
“At this time, we do not have any specific information concerning the suspect having actual physical contact with any of the victims,” Lattin said in a news release.
One teen told police that he had been communicating with Reiboldt since last summer.
He said Reiboldt sent him nude pictures and videos and asked him to do the same in return, court documents said. He provided her with explicit pictures of himself.
Reiboldt allegedly tried to meet up with the boy to have sex, but he refused.
Investigators then found out about three other boys who reported getting sexually explicit images from Reiboldt through Snapchat. One said it started in January, and the other two went back to June and August 2015.
One boy who said he shared pictures of himself with Reiboldt told detectives that she arranged sexual encounter with him, documents said. He made up an excuse to get out of it as Reiboldt allegedly waited at a park near his home.
A brother of an alleged victim told police he didn’t know how Reiboldt found him on Snapchat, but believed she got the information from her son, who is one of his friends, court documents said.
That boy said he just got pictures of the teacher, including of her partially naked, documents said.
Police searched Reiboldt’s Kennewick home June 17.
Then on Wednesday, detectives Joe Santoy and Holly Baynes showed up at court with search warrants for Reiboldt’s cellphone and to take photographs of her body.
The prosecutor, Whitmire, requested $25,000 bail based on the allegations “the danger posed to the community as well as concerns (Reiboldt) may not return to court.”
Whitmire told the court she had heard that Reiboldt tried to kill herself when she learned about the investigation. She said it shows a person who is “willing to go to great lengths” to avoid the charges.
Jensen suggested a lower bail amount at $10,000. He also asked that his client be allowed to travel throughout Eastern Washington, especially to Spokane, where she grew up.
“She’s not going anywhere. She came here knowing what she was facing today,” Jensen told the judge.
As far as orders for Reiboldt to stay off the Internet and all social media, Jensen said her husband can monitor her actions. Reiboldt nodded along to that statement.
Her husband, Spencer Reiboldt, is a special education teacher and the girls golf coach at Southridge High School.
Tonie Reiboldt, whose maiden name is Carneiro, has been with the Kennewick School District since 1997.
She has been at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School since 2003, and previously taught math.
“The Kennewick School District has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to inappropriate employee behaviors, especially those involving students,” a district news release said.
“Upon learning about the alleged misconduct by an employee to a student, the district immediately placed the employee on administrative leave and took steps to ensure that the accused was notified to have no further contact with students,” the release said.
“Our district is fully cooperating with the Kennewick Police Department in the active investigation. The safety of our students is paramount,” the release continued. “We take this situation seriously, and our administration is working diligently to take the strongest possible action to ensure our schools are safe places for students.”
Reiboldt worked as a substitute teacher in the district from 1997 to 1999, head gymnastics coach at Southridge from 1997 to 2006, assistant track coach at Horse Heaven Hills from 2003 to 2005, assistant volleyball coach at Horse Heaven Hills from 2006 to 2009, and assistant dance coach at Horse Heaven Hills from 2013 to 2014.
In 2004, she was named 4A Coach of the Year for gymnastics while at Southridge.
Reiboldt also worked in the Prosser School District from 1999 to August 2003. She taught physical education at Housel Middle School, Superintendent Ray Tolcacher told the Herald.
Before coming to the Tri-Cities, Reiboldt coached gymnastics for seven undefeated years at University High School in Spokane Valley, according to Herald archives.
Anyone with more information related to the case is asked to contact Detective Santoy at 509-585-4208.