25-year-old Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley enrolled at Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas as Rashun Richardson after learning the school was accepting Hurricane Harvey victims.
As a star player on the school’s basketball team, he dominated younger athletes and was named the district’s offensive player of the year, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Gilstrap-Portley lived a double life as a teenager for 9 months— even dating a 14-year-old — just so he could play high school basketball again, school officials said.
“It’s unbelievable to me that he could get away with this,” the girl’s mother said. “I don’t know what, how [the school] let this slip through the cracks.”
The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she didn’t approve of her daughter’s relationship with the young male they both knew as 17-year-old Rashun. According to the daughter, she did not have a sexual relationship with Gilstrap-Portley, whom the mother never met but had spoken to on the phone.
“He was always respectful to me,” she told the newspaper. “He said he understood my concerns but said that he was only 17 and that he didn’t see a problem with them dating.”
Gilstrap-Portley’s deception was finally revealed when one of his former coaches from North Mesquite High School recognized him during a tournament in April. The coach reached out to Hillcrest and informed them that “one of my former players who graduated a time ago is playing for you.”
“He was a good kid,” North Mesquite’s coach, Phillip Randall, told the newspaper. “I never had any problem 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.”
Gilstrap-Portley, who had no previous criminal history, was arrested Friday on a charge of tampering with government records. He was taken into custody at the Dallas County Jail but has since been released after posting bail.
“He took that as an opportunity to gain access to our schools,” Dallas Independent School District spokeswoman Robyn Harris told the Dallas Morning News. “He was fairly savvy to be able to utilize that type of position, knowing that we were accepting Harvey students.”