(NEW ORLEANS) — A Terrebonne Parish official who was forced to resign earlier this year after a WWL-TV investigation has now been hired as a teacher by the local school district.
Sterling Washington was the director of Terrebonne Parish Recreation in June when WWL-TV discovered an accused child sex trafficker was coaching one of the girls all-star basketball teams.
Washington initially told us he did not know that Derrian Williams was coaching the 7- and 8-year-old girls team. Washington had banned Williams from coaching in early 2017 after Williams was arrested in February 2017 and charged with child sex trafficking and carnal knowledge of a juvenile.
Williams is accused of meeting a 16-year-old girl on social media, picking her up when she ran away from her home in Mississippi and taking her to his house in Houma. A police report alleges he forced the girl to have sex with him as payment for the ride and demanded that she have sex with his “clients” because “now she belonged to him.”
Williams is still awaiting trial.
But after Washington claimed to not know that Williams was actively coaching the TPR team, WWL-TV found a picture of Washington sitting just a few feet from Williams while they selected the players for that team and the station obtained receipts Washington approved to pay hundreds of dollars for Williams to stay at a hotel with the girls during a tournament in Slidell.
Washington resigned when the WWL-TV story broke in June, but was later hired as a teacher at his alma mater, H.L. Bourgeois High School.
After Washington resigned, The Houma Times reported in August that Washington had overseen collection of cash admission receipts for a national Babe Ruth softball tournament held in Houma in 2017 and the money was missing.
Parish President Gordon Dove told WWL-TV in September the missing tournament cash was being investigated by the sheriff’s office and the district attorney. The Times reported the amount missing could be as much as $30,000 for a tournament involving at least 40 teams from around the country.
Asked about hiring Washington for another government job after the extensive media coverage of his resignation from Terrebonne Parish Government, Terrebonne Parish Schools Superintendent Philip Martin said he wasn't aware of the details.
“All those things you’re saying I know nothing about that,” Martin said. “I know (Washington) has no criminal charges filed against him.”
Asked if he was concerned about Washington’s ability to protect children, Martin said, “We have no reason to believe he won’t do that.”
Martin also said Washington taught social studies at H.L. Bourgeois before his time as TPR director and did a good job. Martin said Washington is a certified classroom teacher said is not involved now in any coaching at the school.