Detectives allege 3-year relationship with Jefferson student
ALBANY — Scott Leonard Zeigler, 41, a coach and educational assistant at West Albany High School for the past eight years, has been arrested on sex abuse charges.
Marion County Sheriff’s Office detectives took Zeigler into custody at 1:15 p.m. Thursday at the school and then drove him to the Albany Police Department for questioning.
The Albany resident later was transported to the Marion County Jail in Salem, where he remained Friday night on more $70,000 bail.
Albany police Detective Steve Dorn was at the school during the arrest, West Principal Susie Orsborn said Friday.
“We really appreciate that,” she said.
Zeigler’s arrest came following an investigation into a three-year relationship with a female Jefferson High School student, said Don Thomson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office. At the time, Zeigler was the head girls basketball coach, a post he held from 2008 to 2010.
Thomson said in an email to the Democrat-Herald that the relationship began in 2009 and “quickly became sexual in nature and ended in the summer of 2011.”
The sexual encounters began when the girl was 15.
“The student told detectives that she and Zeigler had sexual relations at the high school and in other locations in Albany and Linn County,” he said.
Detectives recovered cell phone texting evidence confirming the relationship, Thomson said.
Parents who had provided email addresses to the district were notified of the arrest, but police said no additional young people are involved.
Orsborn said Zeigler is on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Zeigler is an educational assistant in the school’s self-contained Academy Program designed to help troubled kids become more successful in school and life. He also coached football, volleyball, boys and girls basketball and girls lacrosse, a club sport.
Zeigler most recently was head coach of the lacrosse team. Assistant coach Amy Moore is now acting as head coach.
Orsborn said Zeigler was a respected teacher, coach and staff member. “I am totally shocked,” she said.
The school’s athletic director, Rich Engel, echoed Orsborn’s comments, saying he was surprised by what has happened.
Superintendent Maria Delapoer said, “We are concerned about student safety number one, and we’re all very distressed by this. We have things in place here to support the students and staff to help deal with this. It’s a police matter, and we await the outcome of the investigation.”
At West Albany on Friday, senior basketball player Samantha Siegner said, “I am extremely shocked this could happen. I never saw it coming. He always acted in an extremely professional manner.”
Prior to working at West Albany, Zeigler was employed by KGAL radio.
Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shelly Garrett worked with Zeigler at the radio station.
“He loved sports and got us doing American Legion baseball in the summers,” she said. “He was a very nice man with a lot of integrity. I find this very difficult to believe.”
According to records at the Albany School District, Zeigler graduated from West Albany in 1988. He attended Linn-Benton Community College for a year, Pasadena Community College for a third of a year and Mount Hood Community College for a third of a year.