Police won't recommend criminal charges against Mike Bibby in sexual abuse case

Photo: Darryl Webb/Special for the Republic

Police won't recommend criminal charges against Mike Bibby in sexual abuse case

Boys Basketball

Police won't recommend criminal charges against Mike Bibby in sexual abuse case

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Former NBA player and Shadow Mountain High School (Phoenix) basketball coach Mike Bibby likely won’t face criminal charges following an allegation of sexual abuse.

Phoenix police Sgt. Vince Lewis confirmed that the investigation into sexual abuse allegations by a teacher at Shadow Mountain High School “did not reveal probable cause to recommend charges against anyone in the case.” Lewis added in an email that the case is closed.

In a restraining order served to Bibby on Feb. 25, the teacher claimed that in February 2017, Bibby lifted her by the waist and pulled her into his car on school grounds, rubbing his genitals against her and groping her until she was able to get away.

Bibby was barred from his volunteer position coaching at Shadow Mountain after the abuse claims became public.

Bibby’s attorney, Don Harris, said that even before the allegation, Bibby had not planned to return to coaching at Shadow Mountain High next season. Harris said Bibby has “been approached by several universities.”

He said the sexual abuse claim for Bibby has “been like a bomb bursting in his head.”

Paradise Valley Unified School District declined to comment on the Phoenix Police Department decision.

Five state titles

Bibby as a high school student in 1996 played on Shadow Mountain’s first state championship basketball team. He went on to the University of Arizona, where in 1997 he led the Wildcats to their only national championship.

He played for five teams over 12 seasons in the NBA.

In February, Bibby led Shadow Mountain’s varsity boys basketball team to its fourth consecutive state championship. During his six years at Shadow Mountain, the team won five state titles.

Sex abuse allegation

Though the claim against Bibby emerged in mid-February, it wasn’t until late in the month that he was ousted as coach, his badge and access to the school deactivated.

Here’s a timeline, according to the restraining order, district statements and email records:

  • Feb. 8: The teacher told a colleague about sexual abuse by Bibby in February 2017, according to the restraining order.
  • Feb. 11: The colleague reported the incident to Shadow Mountain’s school-resource officer. An email shows David Appleman, Shadow Mountain’s principal, was also aware of the abuse claim on Feb. 11, through a third party whose name is redacted. Appleman wrote to Michelle Otstot, an official with the district’s human-resources department, about the claims.
  • Feb. 13: The school-resource officer met with the teacher at her home to discuss what the colleague reported, according to the restraining order.
  • Feb. 14: An official from the Phoenix Police Department informed the district of an investigation into the Bibby allegation, according to a statement from the district. This prompted the district to suspend its own internal investigation, district spokeswoman Becky Kelbaugh wrote.
  • Feb. 23: Shadow Mountain’s varsity boys basketball team won the state championship game, with Bibby as coach.
  • Feb. 25: The Republic obtained a copy of the restraining order. In the afternoon, a reporter asked the district about the allegations. After the district responded to the reporter with a statement, human-resources officials internally shared over email what was labeled as “Mike Bibby 2-25-19 Letter of Ineligibility as a Volunteer” on Google docs. At 7 p.m., another HR official asked in an email that Bibby’s district badge be deactivated. The district added in a statement that officials received the injunction on Feb. 25, the first time, Kelbaugh wrote, that they obtained firsthand information.
  • Feb. 26: As the allegations began making national headlines, Otstot asked school officials in an email whether Bibby had any keys to Shadow Mountain facilities. Appleman replied, “I can confirm that Mike Bibby was not issued, nor is in possession of, keys to the SMHS facilities.”
  • April 11: Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Vince Lewis confirms that the department will decline to recommend criminal charges against Bibby and the case has been closed.

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Police won't recommend criminal charges against Mike Bibby in sexual abuse case
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