Joshua Spratt began working as a school resource officer at Watervliet High School in upstate New York in 2013, when he was 33, eight years into his career with the local police force. His first known sexual encounter with an underage student came two years later, in February 2015, and by the time he was indicted that July, the evidence showed that he’d had sex with two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old.
In a statement following Spratt’s arrest, the Watervliet City School District deemed his actions “an egregious and unforgivable betrayal of the trust we all placed in him.” Though it was the middle of summer vacation, counselors were dispatched to the high school to meet with students in the cafeteria to “help them process this news.”
Spratt, the school’s only SRO, had been a familiar presence on campus, friendly with students and well-liked. Some dropped by to chat in his private office, which sat next to the office of an assistant vice principal. At least one student came to him for help with schoolwork. “He was a nice, funny guy,” one student at the time told me. “He was good at doing his job. But he took it too far.”