Some people spend their whole lives dreaming of bygone high school glory days.
But one man lived a double life for them.
A 25-year-old Texas man faked his way into a Dallas high school by claiming to be a Hurricane Harvey survivor, police said. Before his game was up, he was voted offensive player of the year in his basketball team conference and dated at least one classmate, who was 14.
Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley was arrested Friday for tampering with government documents, according to the Dallas Morning News. He later posted bail.
He enrolled in Hillcrest High School posing as Rashun Richardson, a supposed 17-year-old, police said.
Gilstrap-Portley, who played college ball at Dallas Christian College in recent years, took “savvy” steps to re-enroll in the high school, according to a school official. He said he was homeless and a refugee of Hurricane Harvey, which killed 88 people in southern Texas, according to the Texas Tribune. It is not clear if in fact he survived the storm.
Gilstrap-Portley enrolled as a freshman, apparently in the hopes of restarting his basketball career, just a few weeks after the hurricane. He eventually ended up dating a 14-year-old student.
Federal laws make it easier for evacuees from a natural disaster to enroll in school without documents.
"It’s unbelievable to me that he could get away with this," the mother of the teenage girlfriend, who asked not to be named, told the Morning News. "I don’t know what, how [the school] let this slip through the cracks."
Gilstrap-Portley already has a young child, according to the Morning News. The mother of the 14-year-old said her daughter told her the two did not have a sexual relationship. “He was always respectful to me,” the mother said.
Gilstrap-Portley kept his deception up for nearly an entire season, until a former coach noticed him playing for Hillcrest High School in a tournament.
Phillip Randall, of North Mesquite High School, was not the coach who identified Gilstrap-Portley, but he had coached Gilstrap-Portley until 2011, according to KXAS-TV in Dallas.
"He was a good kid," Randall told the Morning News. "I never had any problems out of him. That’s why I was shocked when I heard that all this came out, because that’s not the kid that I knew."
The Dallas school district had been accepting students affected by Hurricane Harvey to give them a “safe and secure” community, according to Hillcrest principal Chris Bayer. "This is a unique situation that shows us areas that need improving when we open our doors to students in times of need," Bayer said.
But that explanation is cold comfort to the mother of the 14-year-old.
"I’m upset, frustrated, angry and sad at the same time," she said. "If it’s happening at Hillcrest, then it could be happening somewhere else. People need to know. It could have gone differently if he had other intentions to hurt her or to traffic her."
Gilstrap-Portley isn't facing charges related to dating the minor.
In a letter to parents Monday, Hillcrest’s principal said the school would be reviewing its policies for helping vulnerable students going forward.
[Photo: Dallas County Jail]
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