A former Eureka High School girls’ wrestling coach was arrested Monday on suspicion of 60 counts of statutory rape, according to jail reports.
As of Wednesday morning, Thomas Harlan Gowing was being held in the Humboldt County jail, according to Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Samantha Karges.
“His bail is set at $1.5 million until he is arraigned,” Karges told the Times-Standard. “At that time, the judge can choose to reduce his bail amount.”
Typically, arraignments need to be held within 72 hours of the booking.
The Eureka Police Department notified the Arcata Police Department of an investigation involving Gowing, a news release posted Wednesday afternoon on the APD’s Facebook page stated. The allegations stemmed from a report from a female former Eureka High student who has since graduated and is now an adult.
“It was really through that investigation that they determined the alleged incidents took place in Arcata,” Lt. Todd Dockweiler told the Times-Standard.
The multiple counts against Gowing relate to multiple alleged incidents of “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor,” the APD’s Facebook post states.
Dockweiler said that there is no past history of statutory rape relating to Gowing outside of Humboldt County.
Karges noted that there was no previous booking history associated with Gowing. A search of the court records confirmed there were no past charges filed locally against Gowing.
A news release shared by Eureka City Schools said that Gowing was a coach and volunteer for wrestling at Eureka High.
“Gowing has not worked in a paid or volunteer capacity in ECS since June 2022,” the release stated.
The school district noted in the release that the safety of students was a top priority.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students is paramount,” Eureka High principal Rob Standish said in a prepared statement. “Any EHS student who may be directly or indirectly impacted by this incident is encouraged to contact the EHS Counseling Office at 707-441-0262 for support.”
Further, the district said “inappropriate relationships between minors and adults will not be tolerated. ECS supports the efforts of law enforcement to prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law.”
The Eureka City Schools did not respond to questions about how the district screens applicants who work directly with youth and how long Gowing had direct contact with students in the district.
The following is a press release from the Arcata Police Department:
On January 26, 2023, the Eureka Police Department (EPD) notified the Arcata Police Department (APD) they had initiated an investigation into allegations of sexual assault, involving a former Eureka High School (EHS) assistant wrestling coach, and a female student who has since graduated and is now an adult. Because the criminal allegations took place in the City of Arcata, APD took the lead on the investigation and continued to work collaboratively with EPD.
On January 30, 2023, APD arrested 34-year-old Thomas Harlan Gowing without incident. Gowing was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for multiple violations of Penal Code Section 261.5(C)-Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Minor.
Gowing has had no association with EHS since June 2022.
The Arcata Police Department encourages anyone with information on this case, or any associated allegations against Gowing, to contact the Arcata Police Department’s Investigations Unit, at 707-822-2424.
APD would like to remind community members that have experienced, or are currently experiencing sexual abuse, there are advocacy services and resources available to assist (24/7) through our local and national partners, such as the North Coast Rape Crisis Team (707-445-2881), and the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673).
APD thanks the Eureka Police Department, Eureka High School, and the North Coast Rape Crisis Team for their assistance in this matter.
The following is a press release from the Eureka City Schools:
Eureka City Schools (ECS) is aware of the arrest of Thomas Harlan Gowing. Gowing was a former coach and volunteer for wrestling at Eureka High School (EHS). Gowing has not worked in a paid or volunteer capacity in ECS since June 2022.
ECS supports the investigation with the Arcata Police Department, as student safety is the District’s top priority.
“The safety and wellbeing of our students is paramount,” said Rob Standish, EHS Principal. “Any EHS student who may be directly or indirectly impacted by this incident is encouraged to contact the EHS Counseling Office at 707-441-0262 for support.”
Inappropriate relationships between minors and adults will not be tolerated. ECS supports the efforts of law enforcement to prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law.
Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Arcata Police Department at 707-822-2428. All further inquiries should be directed to the Arcata Police Department.
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