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Ex-Teacher and Coach Sentenced for Sexually Abusing Student and Possessing ‘Explicit Material’ Depicting Another Former Student

A television screengrab shows Kirkland Shipley and his lawyer.

Kirkland Shipley (left) and his lawyer (right) appear in a WRC-TV screengrab.

A former teacher and rowing coach in the Washington, D.C. area has been sentenced to spend three years behind bars for sexually abusing a student and for possessing “sexually explicit material of a 17-year-old former high school student,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced on Friday.

Kirkland Shipley, 48, of Washington, D.C., was a teacher and girls’ rowing coach at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, the DOJ said.

Shipley pleaded guilty on June 3 in Washington, D.C. Superior Court to charges of first-degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student and possession of a sexual performance by a minor.

After his three-year prison term is complete, Shipley will serve two years on probation. He will also be forced to register as a sex offender for life.

In a press release, prosecutors summed up the case this way:

According to the government’s evidence, one of the victims was on the girls’ crew team at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, from 2014 to 2018. Shipley was her head coach from her sophomore year to her senior year, as well as her history and geography teacher. During her sophomore year of high school, Shipley began texting the victim about rowing and personal matters. This continued into her senior year, in which Shipley began to text the victim more frequently and about increasingly personal topics. On at least two occasions in May 2018, prior to this victim’s graduation, he picked the victim up in his car and sexually abused her at his residence in Northwest Washington.

The other victim was on the girls’ crew team at Walt Whitman High School from 2009—2013. Shipley was her head coach from her sophomore year to her senior year. He also was this victim’s history teacher during her junior year. During the spring of the victim’s senior year, Shipley began to message her on GChat more frequently, about rowing and personal matters. A month after her graduation, in July 2013, when the victim was 17 years old, Shipley invited her to his residence in Washington, D.C., and had sex with her. He continued having sex with this victim throughout the summer and after she began college in the fall of 2013. During this time, Shipley possessed sexually explicit photos and videos of the victim, while she was a 17-year-old minor. He also sent this victim photos and videos of his penis and of himself masturbating.

A affidavit filed in Washington, D.C. Superior Court says Shipley bought the first victim a vibrator as a graduation gift.

Text messages described in the affidavit from the defendant to the first victim contain many harrowing details.

After a discussion about orgasms, the defendant said this: “I plan on making you feel [t]hings you cannot imagine.”

After a discussion about birth control methods, the defendant responded accordingly: “We can’t have any little Shipley’s running around, you know?”

The defendant also told the first victim that masturbation would “help her relax and help with her rowing performance,” the affidavit indicates.

The document also notes that sexual contact occurred in the teacher’s personal home.

The scheme came crashing down on Aug. 24, 2021, with Shipley’s arrest.

Several charges were dropped in typical fashion in return for the defendant’s guilty pleas, the court docket indicates.

Jail records indicate that Shipley is currently an inmate in Washington, D.C.’s Central Detention Facility.

A copy of the plea agreement and sentence form are below.

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.