WILLIAMSTOWN - A teacher and cheerleading coach is accused of obstructing a police officer by falsely presenting herself as the parent of an unrelated juvenile, court documents show.
Sasha R. Banfield, 39, of Williamstown, is facing charges of obstructing justice, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and being an accessory after the fact of obstructing, according to a criminal complaint by Sgt. Brett Pickens of the Wood County Sheriff's Department.
Banfield, a fifth-grade math teacher at Williamstown Elementary School and head varsity cheerleading coach for Williamstown High School, was arrested and arraigned Tuesday in Wood County Magistrate Court in front of Magistrate Robin Waters. Banfield was released on a $3,000 bond.
In the complaint, Pickens said police responded Aug. 21 to a complaint of a loud party in the area of Lake Washington Club Drive in Washington. Several juveniles at the party attempted to hide from police in some nearby woods but were detained by police when they attempted to leave the area.
According to Pickens, Banfield's daughter and a female friend were among the juveniles detained. The daughter told police the two were sisters and sent a text to Banfield asking her to pose as the friend's mother to keep her from getting into trouble with her parents.
Pickens alleges when Banfield arrived to pick up the juveniles, she "pointed at them and stated, 'Both of you girls are grounded,' which led me to believe that she was the parent of both." Pickens contacted the Williamstown High School Prevention Resource Officer the next day and learned the two were not sisters and Banfield was not the parent of one of the juveniles.
Pickens said when he went to further question the girls and Banfield, they confirmed the text that had been sent. Pickens said Banfield initially argued she had not gone along with her daughter's plan to pretend to be the friend's mother, but finally admitted "she was wrong in trying to hide the fact that (the juvenile) was not her child and that she was only trying to keep (the juvenile) out of trouble."
A warrant was issued Monday for Banfield and she was arrested Tuesday at Williamstown High School following cheerleading practice.
Karen Brunicardi, director of elementary schools for Wood County Schools, said Banfield was not in class Wednesday, but declined to say if Banfield had been suspended.
"She is not in school today. I can't really say any more at this time," Brunicardi said.
Officials also said Banfield would not be at Wednesday evening's cheerleading practice.
A clerk in Waters office said it would be about two months before a hearing date is set. Waters said Tuesday each misdemeanor charge holds a possible one-year jail sentence.