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Social worker accused of interfering with probe into Staples coach sex-assault case

Updated 8:51 am, Saturday, January 12, 2013
  • Valerie Wilke, a Fairfield social worker, has been charged with interfering with the police investigation into child sexual-assault allegations against Jeffrey Schare, pictured, a former Staples High School boys swim team coach. Photo: File Photo / Westport News
    Valerie Wilke, a Fairfield social worker, has been charged with interfering with the police investigation into child sexual-assault allegations against Jeffrey Schare, pictured, a former Staples High School boys swim team coach. Photo: File Photo

 

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The sex-assault case against a former Staples High School boys swim coach took a twist last week when a Fairfield social worker was charged with refusing to cooperate with the police investigation.

Valerie Wilke, 51, a licensed social worker who lives on Joan Drive in Fairfield, was charged Wednesday with failure to report abuse or neglect, and interfering with a police officer.

"Since 1967, social workers have been mandated reporters of abuse under state law," said Senior Assistant State's Attorney Cornelius Kelly, who declined to comment on the case against Wilke.

If convicted of both charges, Wilke, who is also the chef of the Bloodroot Restaurant in Bridgeport, could face up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Jeffrey Schare, a Fairfield resident who had been coach of the Staples boys' swim and dive team for seven years, was charged last month with sexually assaulting two girls, now 12 and 8, for more than a year.

In November, police said Wilke told a school counselor she had information about the sexual assault of a child, but refused to reveal the child's identity.

Instead, Wilke interviewed the two girls at her home, according to police. Despite determining they had been abused, Wilke did not tell the girls' mother or authorities.

Police said when they contacted Wilke, she refused to give them either Schare's name or the name of the girls' mother. Wilke told police she had already determined the girls were safe. Eventually, the girls' mother called police.

"Wilke's inaction continued to put (the victims) at risk of further abuse by failing to report said abuse for a period of at least one week," the arrest warrant affidavit states.

Schare was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a minor, and one count each of third-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and attempted third-degree sexual assault.

He began "grooming" the two girls when they were much younger, "promising favors such as food and sleepovers as rewards for his deviant behavior," according to court documents.

"A behavior he readily admitted to his wife was a lust for younger girls, an urge that he could no longer control," the affidavit reads.

Police said the older girl tried to fight him off many times.