Police: Sunset HS track coach arrested for sex abuse

booking photo (Washington County Sheriffs Office)

A high school track coach was arrested and accused of sexual abuse on Tuesday, police said.

Beaverton police said they began an investigation regarding a relationship between the suspect, Branden Michael Helms, 25, and a 16-year-old girl on June 26.

During the investigation, police said they learned that Helms was a track coach for Sunset High School where he met the victim.

Helms and the victim had an inappropriate sexual relationship for approximately two months before the beginning of the police investigation, according to officials and were notified of the relationship from the 16-year-old's parents.

The Beaverton School District said Helms graduated from Sunset High School in 2011 and had coached track there for the past two years, but his contract with the school has already ended.

Police said evidence was provided to a Washington County Grand Jury who charged Helms on two counts of luring a minor and four counts of second-degree sexual abuse.

“I was pretty surprised when you showed me his picture,” Alaina, 16, said.

Alina, an athlete at Sunset High School, said she knows Helms. She said he has helped her with her short distance running, one of many coaches at the school. Her jaw dropped when she saw his mug shot.

"I wouldn't expect this," Alaina said. "...I'm 16. I don't want anyone to make advances toward me," Alaina said.

Photos on Helms’ Facebook page paint a picture of a star athlete with a bright future.

“I’m going to continue doing track next year but, it’s weird knowing that happened,” Alaina said.

Helms' name is displayed on the track and field record board, holding a high school record for the 200-meter dash.

“It’s definitely taking advantage because people are age, their brains aren’t as mature, so they can be easily manipulated," Alaina said. I think it’s important to open up communication with children about their personal lives more."

On Tuesday, Helms was arrested by police at a residence in the 12000 block of Northwest Barnes Road and taken to the Washington County Jail.

Police said Helms is out of jail after posting his $6,000 bond. He’s set to appear in court on July 13.

If anyone has information regarding Helms, they are asked to call 503-629-0111.

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