A former St. Helens High School teacher and coach was sentenced to 50 months in prison on six counts of second-degree sexual abuse for an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl, which he plead guilty to in July.
Kyle Jarred Wroblewski, 45, appeared before Judge Ted Grove on Monday, August 19 for sentencing, alongside his attorney, David T. McDonald.
The state, through District Attorney Jeff Auxier, recommended 90 months in prison arguing that Wroblewski has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unwilling or unable to exercise self-control and targeted vulnerable victims from his position of trust at St. Helens High School.
The state argued Wroblewski had shown a consistent pattern of sexually predatory behavior and repeatedly engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct with other students, as well. The court’s attention was directed to “Exhibit 1” in the state’s sentencing memorandum, in which Wroblewski was admonished by the school for inappropriate behavior in a conference summary letter.
The letter, dated April 28, 2008 and signed by then Assistant Principal Joanna Rau, notes several incidents that were discussed with Wroblewski, including “smelling girls and referring to their ‘delicious’ perfume,” helping a female student stretch out at the track, running his hands through girls’ hair, giving shoulder massages, and behaving in a manner that students referred to as “too touchy.”
Wroblewski was then given a Letter of Directive outlining the necessary changes that must be made to his behavior, which could result in disciplinary action. However, the state argued, a year later in April of 2009, Wroblewski was again admonished by the school for similar behavior and suspended.
In the memorandum, the state said of particular note is the portion of the school’s response to Wroblewski’s grievance, which states: “The punishment fits the infraction. You have been guilty of serious misconduct; as indicated above, your conduct constitutes sexual harassment of students. Your behavior is strictly forbidden by state and federal law as well as the District’s policies.”
At that time in 2009, Wroblewski was again given another list of expectations from the school district, including that he would have no physical contact with students unless necessary to prevent injury or to provide aid.
The state argued that, while these instances took place a decade prior to the charges Wroblewski stood accused of, they represented the “defendant has engaged in grooming, pushing limits and using his position to access and victimize this community for years.”
The state said Wroblewski’s relationship with the teen began in October of 2017 when they began running together, after the victim had reached out professing trouble sleeping and struggles with depression. The state alleged several instances of sexual misconduct, including intercourse, happened on school grounds, and continued for over a year.
Additionally, Auxier said that Wroblewski had given special treatment to a friend of the victim’s who knew about the inappropriate relationship – giving the student an exemplary grade on a paper they turned in blank and marking them present for classes the student had not attended.
“This whole relationship began, your honor, because the victim started communicating she was depressed, she was at risk of self-harm, and she was going through a difficult time in her life. That’s how this relationship began and that’s not the only student to have done that,” Auxier said, mentioning a student in 2014 who met with law enforcement, who had texted regularly with Wroblewski her sophomore year under similar circumstances. “She told law enforcement that she thought she was going to marry the defendant.”
The victim then made a statement, asking not to be named or quoted, but did address Wroblewski, who looked up at her as she stood to his right and spoke. Grove thanked her for her “thoughtful and articulate statement” and commended her for her bravery.
Wroblewski himself addressed the court, opening with, “I am here to finally do the right thing to the best of my ability. I want
everyone to know that I have zero expectations,” adding that he was “so very sorry and remorseful.”
He said he recognized there were many victims in court on Monday because of his actions. He was interrupted at one point and reminded not to name the victim.
“To the victim,” Wroblewski continued with a seemingly frustrated pause, “this all falls on me. It’s not anything that falls on you. If it was in my power to go back and do things over the right way, I would.”
Wroblewski said the event came about because of his personal issues, his shortcomings and dealings with depression, burnout at work, and his personal insecurities. He said he was not strong enough to overcome these formidable obstacles and conditions, and admitted they were explanations, not excuses.
“I want to take 100 percent responsibility for my actions,” Wroblewski said.
He said he’d benefited from the Columbia County Jail’s various programs, including Life Lessons and Pathway to Freedom, which he said had given him tools to address his shortcomings. He asked that his transfer to the Oregon Department of Corrections be delayed until October, so he could finish the programs, but Grove later stated he did not have the authority to do so.
McDonald argued Wroblewski’s behavior had not been predatory, but rather was down to a situation that began as friendship and ultimately became inappropriate.
“One of the things the state relies upon is that they believe that Mr. Wroblewski is brazen, unremorseful, and predatory, and they based that in part on the documents from 2008 and 2009. I think it’s important to put those in context,” McDonald said. “During that time period he was 34 years old, he was getting used to being in St. Helens, and he was trying to reach out to his students.”
McDonald argued that, while it was clear some of the actions Wroblewski took were out of bounds, he noted the principal, legal counsel for the district, and the superintendent at the time all said there was no criminal conduct. They were mandatory reporters, he said, no one was directly named in the reports and a full investigation was not conducted.
Grove ultimately ruled that the 24-month sentence requested by the defense was too light, but also did not hand down the 90-month sentence Wroblewski was eligible to serve under the charges requested by the prosecution.
Wroblewski will be eligible for credit for time served. In addition, he will be subject to two years of post-prison supervision, must register as a sex offender, and will be required to pay restitution to the victim after counseling costs have been totaled.