St. Helens School District to pay $3.5 million over coach’s sexual abuse

By Rob Manning (OPB)
March 16, 2024 12:19 a.m.

One of the largest settlements ever by an Oregon public school district results from years of allowing abusive conduct by high school teacher and coach Kyle Wroblewski.

The St. Helens School District has agreed to pay what may be Oregon’s largest legal settlement ever by a public school. The case involves a teenage student who was sexually abused by a high school coach who had long been the target of complaints of inappropriate conduct.

Complaints of unwanted touching, sexual comments and other questionable behavior by coach Kyle Wroblewski began in 2005, according to court documents. A pattern of abusive conduct appeared through more complaints from students, resulting in Wroblewski receiving a letter of reprimand and a three-day suspension in 2009. The suspension was later reduced to a single day, after a meeting involving Wroblewski, district officials and a union representative.


Some in the school district attempted to get rid of Wroblewski at that point, including the high school principal Nanette Hagen, according to court records.

“At a meeting with District Superintendent Patricia Adams [...], Hagen recommended that Adams terminate Wroblewski. Hagen also expressed to Adams her fear and prediction that, by retaining him, the District would likely be enabling the sexual abuse of yet more female District students in the future,” said the amended court complaint.

In spite of the principal’s warning, and dozens more complaints of harassment and unwanted touching, Wroblewski continued in his job, coaching high school girls — for another decade.


The student at the center of this court case started at St. Helens High School as a 14-year-old freshman in 2015. The student, referred to in court documents as “Jessica Doe” was having problems at home, was struggling with her mental health and turned to Wroblewski for support. Court records indicate other teachers at the school encouraged her to turn to the coach for help, despite numerous complaints about his abusive behavior.

According to court records, the coach slowly steered the student — a track athlete — toward a more intimate relationship. Wroblewski, who also worked as a social studies and history teacher at St. Helens High, would text the student, touch and hug her, and bring her into his classroom as a teacher’s aide. Later he pressed for their relationship to become sexual, which it did, including sexual contact on school property.

Wroblewski’s pattern of sexual abuse toward the student known as Jessica Doe was stopped, not by the school taking action, but by quick action by law enforcement after receiving a tip. Court records say that a state trooper who lived across the street from Wroblewski noticed the student entering the coach’s house on a day when neither of them had gone to school. The trooper called St. Helens police that day — May 1, 2018 — and officers arrested Wroblewski the same afternoon. The St. Helens School District put Wroblewski on paid leave the next day and he was later fired.

In 2019, Wroblewski pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual abuse and was sentenced to more than four years in jail.

The student sued in 2019. Five years later, she was awarded a settlement of $3.5 million.

The abuse from Wroblewski “profoundly affected nearly every facet of her life,” Doe’s attorney, Peter Janci told OPB, commenting on how the former St. Helens student is doing now.

St. Helens school officials said the settlement will be paid by the district’s insurance company.

“We believe that this matter has been resolved in the best interest of all those involved,” the school district said in a statement sent to OPB.