Crime

Tri-City teacher, coach accused of sexting with teen wrestler

A Tri-City teacher and wrestling coach is accused of sexting with a student for two months and encouraging the teen to transfer schools so she could be on his team.

Edwin “Eddie” Bush, 29, made his first appearance Friday morning in a courtroom.

Hours later, he was charged in Walla Walla County Superior Court with one count each of first- and second-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and communicating with a minor for immoral purposes. The teen lives in Walla Walla County.

The two child pornography counts are felonies, while the communicating is a gross misdemeanor, according to Walla Walla County Prosecutor Jim Nagle.

Bush was released from the Walla Walla County jail on Friday afternoon when his family posted bond on $30,000 bail.

Bush is a technology teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School in Kennewick and a wrestling coach with both the boy’s and girl’s programs in the Kiona-Benton City School District.

Officials for both districts said Thursday that Bush was placed on administrative leave after they learned of his arrest.

Detectives with the Walla Walla County and Benton County sheriff’s offices served a search warrant Thursday at Bush’s home in rural Kennewick.

That came after the Walla Walla County agency got a tip Monday about sexting between Bush and a girl. The teen and her high school are not named because the allegations involve sex crimes.

The girl, who is a wrestler, told investigators that she met Bush during wrestling-related activities and then became friends with him on Facebook in May, according to an affidavit filed by Detective James Greco with the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office.

The girl’s cellphone showed 1,260 Facebook messages with 60 attachments in two months. At least eight attachments allegedly showed the girl nude.

She said she and Bush had “numerous sexually charged conversations over the past few months on Facebook Messenger and had exchanged nude photographs of each other,” Greco wrote. She reportedly was at home in Walla Walla County when the two were sexting.

A search of the girl’s cellphone showed 1,260 Facebook messages with 60 attachments between May 17 and July 17, the document said. At least eight of the attachments allegedly showed the girl nude, while there are numerous other photos of her in various states of undress.

Greco wrote that Bush also shared a number of nude pictures of himself.

The message exchange included a discussion about how much time the girl has left in high school, and Bush asking her to move to Ki-Be High School where he coaches, the affidavit said.

That led to Bush and the girl talking about wrestling each other, taking off their clothes, showering together and various sex acts, the affidavit said.

Greco said there also was some discussion of video chatting several times while Bush and the girl were in the middle of a sexually charged conversation.

The Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office said they don’t yet know if there are additional victims.

People who have potentially relevant information to the case are asked to call the detective bureau at 509-524-5400.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531, @KristinMKraemer

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