Case involving former West coach sent to prosecutors; Nichols' teaching certificate still valid

2014-01-09T06:00:00Z 2014-08-20T11:57:05Z Case involving former West coach sent to prosecutors; Nichols' teaching certificate still validBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has handed over to federal prosecutors the case involving West High School’s ex-girls basketball coach.

Scott Nichols was let go from SD2 last May after federal investigators informed district officials Nichols was being investigated for “inappropriate use of computers and the internet.”

Since then, they have provided no further details, declining to comment on the nature of the investigation or whether students were involved.

Nichols coached West High’s Lady Bears basketball and taught physical education at the school. He also worked as a track coach for Riverside Middle School.

“The case is proceeding with the attorneys at this point,” said Tim West, the director of operations for the Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is handling the case. Spokesman Carl Rostad declined to comment.

Nichols had been a recent hire for SD2 and had been at West High for only a year. He spent the majority of his career in the Livingston School District, where he coached and taught for 15 years.

When the district learned of the allegations last May, Nichols was placed on leave. By the end of the month, the school board voted not to renew his contract and he was dropped by the district.

He came to SD2 highly recommended by his colleagues in Livingston and passed his background check, which is a standard requirement for all prospective SD2 employees.

A search of the Montana State Educator Information System shows Nichols’ teaching certificate is currently valid. A spokeswoman for the Montana Office of Public Instruction said staff there have watched the investigation and will take action depending on the outcome of the case. 

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