Seattle private school coach accused of stashing spy camera in students' room

SEATTLE -- Parents of students at The Bush School, a private K-12 school in Seattle's Madison Park neighborhood, got a letter alerting them to the arrest of a coach and chaperone for alleged child voyeurism charges.

Chaperone Jason Paur is accused of planting a video camera in a student's room on a week-long cross-country ski trip in Canada. He was arrested on the trip this week.

The 43 year-old from West Seattle is known as a freelance writer, contributing to Wired, NPR and National Geographic, even writing his own book.  Paur is an avid outdoorsman, coaching the cross-country ski team at ‘The Bush School’ in Seattle’s Madison Park Neighborhood for more than 10 years.

Paur, and 11 students on the team, headed to the Silver Star Resort in Vernon, British Columbia this past week for an annual field trip.  On Tuesday, Paur was arrested at the lodge where the team was staying, accused of putting a video camera in a room occupied by female students.

Wednesday, he was charged with possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography, voyeurism, and breaking and entering.

The Head of The Bush School, Frank Magusin, sent a letter home to parents, explaining what happened, and that Paur admitted he placed the camera in the room.

Magusin did not want to go on camera, but sent us a statement, that says in part:

“Students on the trip discovered a video camera belonging to Mr. Paur in one of the student rooms and reported it to one of the other chaperones, who immediately reported the incident to the school and the local police.  The school was not aware of any other incidents or forewarning of inappropriate behavior on the part of Mr. Paur."

We went to Jason Paur’s West Seattle home Thursday, and a woman answered the door but had no comment.

In a letter sent home to parents, staff said two students on the trip discovered a camera in their room. Paur allegedly admitted to placing the camera in the room to other Chaperones, and the Canadian Royal Mounties were called. Other Chaperones decided to end the trip early, the school said, and the student skiers were headed back to Seattle Thursday.

Tuition for high schoolers is more than $20,000 a year at the prestigious private school.

Below is the letter sent home to parents:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Every year at this time, a group of students and chaperones take part in a week-long cross-country ski trip to Silver Star ski resort in southern British Columbia. I am writing to relate to you an incident that occurred during the trip that has led us to bring our students home earlier than planned. All of the students are safe, and we have been acting promptly and appropriately to address the incident and its consequences.

Early yesterday evening, I received a report from one of the Silver Star chaperones.  Two students had reported to him that another group of students had discovered a personal camera in their room that was making a video recording of the room. It turned out that the owner of the camera was one of the other chaperones, Jason Paur, who admitted he had placed the camera in the room. We removed Mr. Paur from the group and shared with all of the students what had happened. While the students were troubled by the information, they were reassured that the students who had reported the incident had done the right thing. Subsequently, the chaperones contacted the local police who began an investigation of the incident and interviewed some of the students. I learned this morning that after the initial investigation, the police arrested Paur and are holding him in jail in Vernon, B.C. pending further investigation of the incident. At this point, the camera and video recording are in the possession of the local police, and we do not know the specific contents of the recording.

Paur has been a popular, long-time coach of the Upper School cross-country ski team. He also has coached Upper School cross-country running and served as a substitute teacher and from time to time as a guest lecturer in journalism in various classes. We had no reason to be concerned about Paur’s work with students, so we were shocked and surprised by the reports regarding this incident.

Last night, we spoke with the parents of all of the students on the trip to inform them of what had happened. We decided to end the trip early, and the students are returning to Seattle today. We plan to meet with the students and their parents when the group arrives this evening.

We will be sharing information about this incident with Upper School students today, meeting specifically with members of the cross-country ski team who did not go on the trip to help them process the information. Our counseling staff will be available to all students in the coming days to help those who are particularly troubled by the incident. If you become worried about your child with regard to this incident, please don’t hesitate to contact John Ganz, Upper School counselor, or Kim Jackson-Butler, Lower and Middle School counselor.

This is a disturbing and upsetting incident for me and all of us here at Bush, I am proud of the way the Silver Star students and chaperones have handled the situation. As I get further information about the incident, I will keep you informed.