Allegations that Ferris High School football coach Jim Sharkey exposed himself to players at a leadership camp last summer are being investigated by the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office.
Sharkey denies the allegations. He’s coached the Ferris Saxons since 2006 and won a state championship in 2010.
At least three football players claimed that while Sharkey was grilling hotdogs and hamburgers at the camp along the Coeur d’Alene River near Cataldo, Idaho, he turned toward them with his exposed penis inside a hot dog bun.
The students said Sharkey told them something similar to: “You think that is a big dog – take a look at this,” according to a Spokane Public Schools investigation listing multiple versions of the same quote.
Mark Sterk, the Spokane Public Schools director of safety, risk management and transportation, said he sent the case to Shoshone County on March 3. Prior to forwarding the case to Shoshone law enforcement, the district conducted numerous interviews with students claiming to have seen the incident.
The camp was on property owned by Bobby Brett, the majority owner of the Spokane Indians and Spokane Chiefs.
As of last week, the Shoshone County corporal investigating the case had interviewed students and was preparing to contact Sharkey, Sterk said. The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a call asking for comment.
Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Redinger said the district is no longer actively investigating the allegations. If new information is discovered, she said, the district will examine it.
On Wednesday, the board of directors will meet in a closed-door meeting to consider “the performance of a public employee.” According to state data, Sharkey, who is also a fitness and health leadership adviser at Ferris, is to make $107,209 in 2016-17.
In a separate incident that came to light during the Sharkey investigation, a football player claimed players would gang up and dog pile a player on his birthday and then shove their fingers inside the player’s anus. Players called this “juicing.” The player said no coaches or adults were present for the incidents.
Sterk, a former Spokane police officer and Spokane County sheriff, said district resource officers, who have a limited commission from the Spokane Police Department, investigated the juicing allegation. As of now, he said, there is no “indication of criminal behavior there.”
“Right now, we have no information that we have a sexual assault or any kind of assault at all,” Sterk said of that allegation, adding later, “There is no one stepping forward saying, ‘Hey, I was assaulted.’ ”