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High school coach admits to having sex with player

Loses teaching certificate, gets probation and jail time

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A basketball coach who admit-ted having sex with a girl on his team at Oak Park High School has been sentenced to two years probation and 10 days in the Platte County jail.

Darin Mason, age 34, no longer coaches at Oak Park, having been placed on leave in March of 2000 after school officials learned he was being investigated.

He pled guilty on Thursday in Platte County Circuit Court to second degree statutory rape and second degree statutory sodomy. The girl was 15 when the sex acts occurred between Sept. 1, 1999 and March 27, 2000 at Mason's home in Lake Waukomis in Platte County.

Prosecutors said Mason will lose his Missouri teaching certificate. He will also be required to be involved in a sex offenders treatment program. In addition, he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Mason must also perform 100 hours of community service, write an apology letter to the victim and her family, and have no other contact with the victim or her family.

"Cases of this nature involve issues of trust, authority, and community. Parents trust teachers and coaches with their children, the children are put under the authority of the teachers and coaches, and when an allegation of sexual contact arises, it splits the community," said Platte County Prosecutor Todd Graves.

"The important thing to remember is that the young victim was absolutely telling the truth. It is no longer his word against hers. The defendant has admitted all of the allegations," Graves added.

According to court papers, the girl met Mason in the summer of 1996 before her sixth grade year when she was at basketball camp at New Mark School. Mason befriended the victim and her father, visiting them almost daily.

Sexual abuse began during the summer of 1999 when the victim was at Heartland Behavioral Center and the defendant would visit her there. After her release in August of 1999, Mason began having sexual intercourse and oral sex with her at his Lake Waukomis home, prosecutors report.

The North Kansas City School District hired Mason in 1995. For four years he taught physical education at New Mark Middle School and coached the girls basketball team at Oak Park High School. He transferred to Oak Park in the fall of 1999.

"I'm pleased that we have been able to convict and remove this one bad apple from a position of trust and authority in our schools," Graves said.