Teacher resigns amid investigation

South Kitsap High School teacher Gary Vetter was stripped of his teaching credentials and forced to resign from the South Kitsap School District last month after an investigation indicated Vetter had a sexual relationship with a student at the school in 1993.

Vetter, 47, resigned “with a heavy heart and a clear conscience” Jan. 30 after being placed on administrative leave Dec. 5 by the District following an investigation of sexual misconduct with a former student 13 years ago. Vetter taught agriculture at South Kitsap High School for 24 years, earning numerous awards at the district and state level, including being named five times to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

The former student, whose name has been redacted from public records, now lives in Tennessee with her husband. She came forward November 28, telling administrators the sexual nature of her and Vetter’s relationship prior to her graduation in 1994, when she baby-sat Vetter’s children and took his agriculture classes at South Kitsap High School. She and Vetter had a child together in 1996 and she said their relationship continued through last summer.

Vetter told Greg Roberts, assistant superintendent of personnel and labor relations for the District, that his involvement with the former student did not occur until after she graduated.

The former student produced five cards and two letters she said were written by Vetter to her when she was still in high school. Vetter questioned the authenticity of one letter that was especially indicative of wrongdoing, but it was deemed authentic by forensic handwriting expert Timothy P. Nishimura of Kirkland, hired by the District.

“I am able to conclude that Gary Vetter is the writer of the questioned letter and that the letter has not been altered,” Nishimura wrote in his report.

Roberts also questioned staff and students who saw Vetter and the former student together as part of its investigation. Administrators questioned Vetter in 1996 after the relationship between Vetter and the former student was brought to their attention through another student’s journal entry written for a class. The former student said Vetter told her to lie to administrators, telling them the relationship started after she graduated, which she did, she said, because the administration made her feel uncomfortable.

When Vetter was put on administrative leave, he was told not to contact the former student, however, he admitted to mailing her a letter threatening to mail evidence of them together to her parents and husband if she did not reverse her claims.

South Kitsap School District Superintendent Bev Cheney filed a complaint with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction reporting Vetter for violating the terms of his leave.

He resigned. Vetter will not face charges of statutory rape, however Kitsap County Prosecutors are determining whether to charge him for threatening the former student.

Vetter will receive $48,619.60 in severance for resigning from the District. He will surrender his professional educational certificates to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and cannot contact students or come onto District property without invitation. His settlement does not require him to admit guilt and he continues to deny wrongdoing.

Vetter could not be reached Thursday.

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