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Former student accuses Federal Way coach of covering up scandal

A former Federal Way High School student filed a claim seeking $3.5 million in damages against the school district Monday. The accusations involve a sex tape of an underage teenager and a cover up of the scandal.

A former Federal Way High School student has come forward accusing a basketball coach of trying to cover up a scandal that threatened his state championship team.

That student filed a claim against the district Monday on allegations involving a sex tape and failing to report the abuse when it happened.

Tally Thomas, 19, is a standout on the softball field and the wrestling mat. She won a state title for Federal Way High School in wrestling in 2017 and earned a softball scholarship to Stanford University.

While Thomas was at FWHS, she said she had an intimate relationship with another student on the boys' varsity basketball team. During her sophomore year, Thomas claims the two were having sex when another player from the basketball team secretly videotaped it without her knowledge.

"One day, I went over to his house thinking no one else was in the house, and someone was in the closet recording the whole time," said Thomas. "I found out a year later because the video got sent to the basketball team group chat."

Thomas learned about the betrayal in the hallways at the school.

"It's like I'm being betrayed a hundred times, because every time someone comes up to me and says something to me, they're not saying nice words. They're not saying, 'Are you okay?'" said Thomas.

"It just got to the point I didn't want to go to school. I didn't want to be there. So I ended up telling my mom and dad, and as soon as my dad found out he walked into the boys' basketball practice," said Thomas.

Thomas' family say they informed the boys' basketball Coach Jerome Collins what happened, and all of the parties agreed to a group meeting, with just Thomas, the two players, and Coach Collins.

According to Thomas and her family, Collins negotiated an apology from the boys and talked her out of reporting what happened.

"Kind of explaining to me all the bad things that would happen if I went to the police. The boys would probably lose their scholarships, the boys wouldn't be able to play in the state championship, and that horrified me,” said Thomas. “That one horrified me because if the boys can't play in the state tournament and we're picked to win it, everyone at our school would be mad at me. Because I'm the one that snitched."

The Eagles varsity basketball team went on to win the state championship.

Despite getting a scholarship to Stanford, Thomas says she endured endless bullying her senior year of high school.

"I was being slut-shamed a lot," said Thomas. "I was being called 'whore.' I was told instead of going to Stanford I should just go and be a prostitute."

The crisis came to a head her freshman year playing softball for Stanford when Thomas tried to take her own life and dropped out of college.

In her claim against the district, Thomas accused Collins of failure to comply with mandatory reporting requirements. The claim seeks damages of $3.5 million.

Collins could not be reached for comment.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Federal Way School District said: "...today was the first time it was made aware of the allegations..."

"As is our standard practice when allegations are made, we immediately launch a full investigation into the matter. We will be doing so in this case."