GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A former Green Bay West High School band teacher has been charged with Child Enticement and Stalking, accused of sending hundreds of messages to a student.
(Brown County Jail photo)
David Viste appeared in front of a Brown County judge Thursday. The court set a $10,000 signature bond.
Viste resigned on May 3 after working in the school district since 2007.
The allegations are detailed in a criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News. On May 2, police were informed that a teacher at the district had been placed on administrative leave for "inappropriate conduct with a student."
Police contacted the school district's Chief Human Resources Officer who said a male student had confided in an athletic trainer working at the school that a teacher "had a crush on him." The teacher was identified as David Viste.
The student had text messages and Snap Chat messages from Viste. Some messages said "I have a crush on you"; "you look good"; and "I can't wait until you turn 18."
The student had turned 18 in Feb. 2018. The messages began when he was 17. The victim estimated he received more than 1,000 messages from Viste in total.
"He was a popular teacher. So I don't know if it's an abuse of power or I don't know why Mr. Viste did what he did or why he chose to send the messages he did," said Lt. Jeff Brester, Green Bay Police Dept.
Police spoke with the student on May 3. The student said he had already spoken to the principal of West High School, Michelle Jacobson. Jacobson told the Human Resources officer that the conversations started in the summer of 2017.
In the fall, "things got more intense" with Viste sending sexually charged messages, according to the criminal complaint.
The victim said that Viste would give him eye contact during band class and Viste would ask the victim to come over to his home for drinks. The victim said he texted Viste that he was not interested in a relationship, but the text messages from Viste continued.
"Trying to have the victim come over for different events where alcohol was being served. And the comments were sexual in nature through different sexual acts, requesting different sexual acts," Lt. Brester said.
Officers spoke briefly with the victim's mother. The mother said her son mentioned that a teacher had a crush on him, but "she didn't think anything of it at the time and no more was said," reads the complaint.
The student said he had been on a band trip with Viste and Viste had their cell numbers in case of an issue.
The student said conversations started out friendly. He said Viste would text daily "without fail." The student received texts in the morning, during the day and at night.
The victim said the messages got "flirty" around October of 2017 and progressed to "sexually inappropriate."
The student said if he didn't acknowledge a text Viste would "blow his phone up" with multiple and frequent text messages.
"An estimate of 1,000 messages. So when you put everything--it's not just one event that creates the stalking. It's the combination of everything put together and all the circumstances of how the victim feels, his emotional distress," Lt. Brester says.
The victim said Viste sent texts that implied that sex "would be an easier experience if you were a little intoxicated."
The victim said he always turned down offers to come to parties at Viste's home.
The victim said he stood to get a $5,000 scholarship if he improved his at his instrument, and that Viste was the "best band director in the area" and he didn't want to compromise that resource. The victim said Viste had a temper and that he was "nuts when he was pissed off." The victim said Viste isolated kids he was angry with and that little things would set the teacher off.
The victim had surgery in November 2017, which made him unable to play his instrument in band. The victim dropped the class early next year because he was "tired of Viste's relentless messaging and propositions."
The vicitm said the messages from Viste slowed after he dropped the class.
When asked why he never blocked Viste's number, the victim said he was worried the teacher would retaliate by treating his little brother poorly when the brother started band class at West High School.
The student ended up telling it to an athletic trainer whom he viewed as a "mother figure" after school one day.
The student said there were never any nude photos or sexual pictures exchanged.
Viste was arrested on May 16.
Action 2 News spoke with a band parent off camera. The parent was impressed by the school's response. The school set up counseling and hired a long-term substitute teacher for band.
"They did everything right. They pulled him in right away, called us right away and got our investigation going," Brester says.
A band concert went on as planned Wednesday night. A band trip to Virginia will go on as scheduled next week.
Viste's next court appearance is scheduled for May 31.