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Former Acalanes Coach Arrested for Inappropriate Relationship with Student

Update: The 22-year-old coach resigned after the school put him on administrative leave.

Update: Saturday Oct. 6, information from Lafayette police.

Lafayette police arrested a 22-year-old volleyball coach at Acalanes High School Friday for having an inappropriate relationship with a minor. 

Daniel Kalustian of Martinez coached volleyball at the high school and reportedly had a relationship with a female student for more than a year, according to the Contra Costa Times. 

He is charged with unlawful sexual conduct. Kalustian was booked into county jail in Martinez with bail set at $100,000, police said.

The Lafayette Police Department is investigating this case. Anyone with information is asked to call the police at (925) 283-3680.

The Lafayette school chief sent the following letter to parents and guardians Friday afternoon: 

I am writing to inform our Parent Community that the District learned that an Acalanes High School coach was arrested today with charges related to an inappropriate relationship and misconduct with a minor student from another school in the District.

The District was alerted to the possible misconduct of the 22 year-old coach, and he was immediately placed on administrative leave; thereafter, he resigned his position with the District. This individual served as a coach in the District and in no other capacity.

The District has extended support to the student and the family to assist them through this process.

We will continue to work with the Lafayette Police Department on this matter, and student safety will continue to be a top priority.

Should questions or concerns arise for your student, please contact a school counselor or administrator.

Sincerely, John Nickerson Superintendent


CJ October 09, 2012 at 07:59 AM
FWIW- I know of a very public person who dated a cheerleader while coaching a team(not this area) . The age difference was substantial (10yrs). It was quite scandalous. Married for 25 years now and very successful. My point is these relationships do not always fit the "predator" narrative I see many here who pass quick judgement. I knew LOTS of guys in there 20"s who dated girls in their teens.Hell, I did. We weren't criminals, but if a parent who was pissed wanted to they could have made it very difficult in many ways. LE seems to be very inconsistent on this.
BethAnne October 09, 2012 at 12:04 PM
CJ, The specific wording of your comment illustrates the problem. By "lucky kid" you're implying it's a good thing for kids to have sex with adults. I categorically reject that idea. It's never ok for adults to have sex with kids. I suspect what you really mean is "lucky guy". And, there's the issue. We're using arbitrary numbers to determine whether the student is a kid or an adult. What's the correct arbitrary age to use: 14, 15, 16, 17? Any law based on a number is problematic. I know people who could safely drive at .08, but the law says that they're guilty of DUI. I don't drink alcohol. I'd probably be unsafe at a much lower BAC since my body is not used to the effects of alcohol consumption. The speed limit on my street is 30 mph but I can safely navigate it at 35 mph. Nevertheless, I could be given a ticket for speeding. I'm more inclined to criminalize these teacher-student cases (regardless of ages) from an abuse of power standpoint. Students and teachers are not equals. Teachers wield considerable power over students so these relationships could easily be based on coercion or manipulation. Moreover, as a taxpayer, I want them to be illegal because these relationship could lead to a lawsuit with financial damages levied against the school district. My tax dollars shouldn't be at risk simply because a teacher couldn't choose somebody other than a student for sex. There are 7 billion people on the planet, finding someone else shouldn't be that difficult for them.
Deborah October 09, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Thank you BethAnne. The adult female teacher / cheerleader lied, under penalty of perjury, many times, before she came clean in order to avoid jail time. (Before now, she insisted emphatically she did not have sex with her student - quite Clintonesque of her. Yes, our leaders set examples, which are followed by the masses, but due to the lag times involved, it's difficult to pinpoint cause and effect.) She got off very easy. I think it's wrong she did. Because we have such a huge and growing problem with pedophilia (as facilitated by the internet), zero tolerance for adults in authority positions having sex with children, will help to mitigate the slippery slope.
TMoraga October 09, 2012 at 04:20 PM
CJ - the only Guys who are in their 20's and doing their date shopping at the local HS are the creepy guys we use to call the Clingon's back in the 80's and 90's. Not sure how old you are but this sort of thing has been viewed as wrong and unecceptable for a long time in California. Regardless of what your personal feelings are regarding young adults dating HS kids - a professional position at a HS is NEVER EVER a free invite to an all you can date buffet. Any HS coach or teacher or School professional who dates a HS student is in violation of the very basic trust all parents place on the people who spend in many cases more time with their kids than the parents do. The day our society decides that our HS kids are open game to young adults who can't seem to step up and move on to the next step in life and treat HS like a buffet table for date subjects is the day you see parents packing heat and reducing the local population of "Clingon's" NO it us completely UNACCEPTABLE for a young adult to be dating HS kids ESPECIALLY when that Adult works at the school or interacts with that child in their job.
CJ October 09, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I agree it is wrong, but criminal? I think it happens far more often than anyone knows. I have no idea what a Clingon is but I would guess you need campus access to be one. My point is that every case of this is NOT a predator situation. A 22 yo man is not much more mature than a 16yo girl IMO. Maybe the school admin needs to question the wisdom of hiring coaches and teachers so close in age to the students?
BethAnne October 09, 2012 at 04:32 PM
There's probably not a large pool of older applicants. I don't have the energy at my age to coach a high school sports team. I would think that's a job that attracts younger people.
TMoraga October 09, 2012 at 04:43 PM
CJ my parents were in their early 20's when they started their teaching careers. My dad was even escorted to the office by another teacher because he was cutting class lol. No yhe issue here is having unqualified untrained people on campus. PRERIOD!
TMoraga October 09, 2012 at 04:44 PM
A Clingon is a former HS kid who clings to the HS hangs around and doesnt move on.
CJ October 09, 2012 at 04:48 PM
No . The issue is human nature and how far you want to subvert it to maintain an acceptabe social order. The line is not black and white and never will be despite many's desire to force it.
CJ October 09, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I have never seen one of these "Clingon's" but using logic and knowledge of campus visitor policy's it would be difficult to be one without School admin's full blessing.No?
TMoraga October 09, 2012 at 05:00 PM
They show up after school, in rare cases apply for coaching jobs and the worst offenders show up during school hrs. Every HS teacher and admin have seen them at one time or another. Some schools are worse than others.
Chris Nicholson October 09, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I just want to point out that the coach was involved with a girl at *another* school/team--- not someone on his team. Somewhat akin to sexual harassment, I do think it is relevant if a coach/teacher/boss uses power/influence to coerce a younger subordinate into sexual encounters with implicit threat of sanction for refusal (or reward if consent). But that does not appear to be the case here (different school and a year long relationship). In case anyone is thinking of advancing it, let me say in advance that I do not buy the argument that a 21 year old part-time volleyball coach wields some kind of generalized authority and power that he can use to coercively take advantage of all volleyball players everywhere.
TMoraga October 09, 2012 at 05:33 PM
You ever coach HS sports? In this case your right they may have met at a party and been dating long before he became a coach. However I highly doubt it.
LafayetteRez October 09, 2012 at 07:21 PM
It really does not matter where and when they met and if they dated before becoming a coach. If an individual is 22 and has a relationship going on for one year, this means he was a 21 yrs old adult making the wrong decision. The law indicates consent age is 18. Now add to the equation that this individual signs up to take on the responsibilities of coaching a high school team, it becomes a graver crime.
CJ October 09, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Crime? No. Cause for dismissal? YES.
LafayetteRez October 09, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Chris, one would 'fire' a coach for poor performance. I cannot understand how missing practice, running a weak program, lack of commitment, etc which are all sufficient grounds for 'firing' a coach should receive equal punishment for an relationship with a minor who is in the program. In high school sports where a very small fraction may move on to college and professional competition, the most important take away that the coach is there to provide is building character in the child through discipline in training and competition. On top of this, the parents entrust their child in this coach. This is a serious failure that deserves appropriate punishment!
LafayetteRez October 09, 2012 at 07:33 PM
CJ, to repeat my comments above: Chris, one would 'fire' a coach for poor performance. I cannot understand how missing practice, running a weak program, lack of commitment, etc which are all sufficient grounds for 'firing' a coach should receive equal punishment for an relationship with a minor who is in the program. In high school sports where a very small fraction may move on to college and professional competition, the most important take away that the coach is there to provide is building character in the child through discipline in training and competition. On top of this, the parents entrust their child in this coach. This is a serious failure that deserves appropriate punishment!
CJ October 09, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I just disagree. I would be very careful in my future hiring decisions and weigh the character (as much as I can vet it) and even then you never know. Create a larger age gap and your stated opinion has more merit. IMO a 22 yo life/future does not deserve the full weight of the LAW for this kind of judgement lapse. The laws intent is to discourage predators, I don't see that here.
LafayetteRez October 09, 2012 at 08:07 PM
A judgement lapse by a 22 year old is not as grave as a judgement lapse by a 22 year old assuming the position as coach of high school girls. In any case, it is far more than a 'judgement lapse' because he carried on for a year. I am certain the law provides for appropriate punishment in each case.
Chris Nicholson October 09, 2012 at 09:56 PM
If you were dictator, what punishment would you impose? Prison time? Permanent status as a registered sex offender with minor victims? Does it matter that the girl was not on his team? Would it matter if she played a different sport? Lived in a different town? I am asking the normative question about morality and justice--- not to be confused with current law.
TMoraga October 09, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Also a HS that hires off campus coaches male coach for girls sports needs to seriously review its hiring practices.
LafayetteRez October 10, 2012 at 04:55 PM
completely agree - it is important to examine if there were failures at other levels that contribute to an environment where individuals may think there is little risk in breaking the law.
TMoraga October 10, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Couple of things all Girls HS sports should always have a female coach be it the primary or assistant coach given a Male coach cannot and should never be going into a Girls Locker room be it to simply tape an ankle or deal with any sort of issue that may crop up in an area they "DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO" A HS coach is responsible for the safety of their kids both on and off the field or court when at home ie their school or at away games/matches. Having a female coach or assistant coach who is at all events enables the ADULTS to have legal and proper access to ensure that their kids are OK in areas a MALE Coach cannot go. A HS that does not operate this way raises HUGE concerns regarding their sports policies and ensuring their kids are safe in the HS sports events. Heck even back in the 70's my dad always had a female coach at every practice and event for his girls basketball team. Not having this ability would be borderline stupid and irresponsible of a HS.
TMoraga October 10, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I also recall the standard protocol was that the coach or assistant coach be it the boys or the girls team would always enter the locker room at away events and do a walk through to ensure that the facility was secure and that no one that should not be there was in the locker room. This was back in the days before all the nonsense we hear about today. Makes me wonder what our HS's are doing today regarding the proceedures their coaches follow to make sure their kids are safe? I know for a fact this guy was not walking through the girls locker room making sure it was clear of uninvited guests and if he was - then all the parents should be a little more than ticked that a 22yr old guy was hanging out in the locker room with their girls. Seriously where in the hell is the common sense these days?
LafayetteRez October 11, 2012 at 04:27 AM
the common sense is lacking... just look at the situation with funding... 'voluntary contributions' for participation in sports are not fairly distributed. There is an imbalance. Most of our money goes to football which for some odd reason is the sport that must always define a school. Other sports have budgets which can't cover basic needs for the entire season. Coach's stipends equate to pennies/hour. It's tough to get experienced, quality coaches with this formula. Most coaches are committed due to the love of the game or maybe have a child in the program but an administration that does not manage this equitably and has no interest in investing in the coaching staff equitably across all sports is on the wrong track. ..and should take a good look at themselves to figure out what they may be doing wrong
The Merry One October 11, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Having just had two children athletes (a boy and a girl) who graduated from Acalanes District high schools and who played in 6 different sports teams between the two of them throughout the combined 8 years they were in high school, I can tell you that it was *not* common practice for our athletes to use locker rooms at any away games, unless they needed to use the bathroom upon arrival. In this case, the girls, and usually the boys, always went as a group. Further, my daughter had numerous male coaches who were respectful, highly qualified coaches. They never went into the girls' locker room, either at home or away games. We had a female trainer that did the honors. Most often, injuries were treated courtside or on the field. On occasion, the weight room was used, but in mixed company. The reality is that there are very few adult females out there that are available to coach. The Acalanes District has a difficult time finding coaches in general, let alone restricting girls' teams to female coaches only. I can name numerous coaches at all four of our high schools that are honorable, respectful gentleman who have stepped forward because they care about the girls' athletic program. Let's not let this one deviant blemish the reputation of so many others who are making a positive impact in our communities.
Bailey Lee October 23, 2012 at 03:21 AM
That approach REALLY worked well at Joaquin Moraga and in that situation at Albany. Being a teacher is no guarantee of anything.
TMoraga October 23, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Bailey Lee - thousands and thousands of school kids spending more hours with trained professionals than in many cases their parents life will never be perfect. Hiring the proper people goes a long way to mitigating problems. It will never be 100% fool proof which is why parents still need to be parents.
Bailey Lee October 23, 2012 at 10:29 PM
complete non sequitur. Hiring only teachers as coaches or same sex coaches for teams is no guarantee. Teachers, like cops and firefighters, are just people, not gods in training.
Bailey Lee October 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Here's another Judge Judy moment for your consideration: should she get her job back? http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/Calif-teacher-fired-for-porn-site-wants-job-back-3974873.php

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