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UPDATE: Charges against Rafael Escamilla have been dropped since the 17-year-old girl apparently didn't want to go through with the trial. He remains suspended from

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Rafael Escamilla, Accused In-Flight "Tabasco Sauce" Masturbator, Is an Ex-High School Math Teacher From Washington

rafael camilla01 small.jpg

UPDATE: Charges against Rafael Escamilla have been dropped since the 17-year-old girl apparently didn't want to go through with the trial. He remains suspended from his job at Andrew-Paulos Research and Education, pending an internal review.

Remember Rafael Escamilla? He's the Director of Research at Andrew-Paulos Research and Education Institute in Gulf Breeze, Fla. whom we told you about last month who was arrested on a flight to Idaho when a 17-year-old cheerleader told flight attendants that he was masturbating next to her. His excuse: He spilled Tabasco pepper sauce on his penis and had to scratch and rub it furiously to stop the "incredible itch." Well, it turns out Escamilla may live in Florida now, but according to a news report, he grew up right here in Washington.

A 1993 story in the Lewiston Morning Tribune reports Escamilla was a graduate of Clarkston High School in 1978 and later a graduate of Washington State University and a math teacher at Clarkston High from 1983 to 1989.

Seattle Weekly confirmed the story with Tribune editor Craig Clohessy as accurate.

Escamilla is also a world-champion powerlifter, having won competitions and written essays on biomechanics and abdominal exercises.

The Tribune story focuses on a recent powerlifting win in which a then-33-year-old Escamilla took first place in the 181-pound class at the World National Powerlifting Federation National Championships.

He says of the win:

''It's pretty taxing on the body. My joints can't take the heavy weights as much, but I'm getting stronger. My personal bests keep rising. I decided to do it for a couple of reasons,'' he said. ''I'm getting stronger every year and I really had an awesome training year. I took first in a regional meet and decided I might as well give it a try.''

Since Seattle Weekly first reported the story on Dec. 28, it's gone viral. His Facebook page, which had contained info about his job in Florida and photos of him with his wife and two children, was taken down, but a new page, sans photos, has since gone up here.

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The officer who arrested Escamilla has said there were no signs of any sauce on his pants, and that he didn't seem to be at all itchy when he was interviewing him. Check out a copy of the police report from The Smoking Gun here.

Between 1993 and late last year, Escamilla continued his academic success. He kept powerlifting and kept teaching, eventually becoming a professor at Duke University and California State University, before going on to his current job (from which he's since been suspended in light of the charges) at the Andrew-Paulos Institute.

His next court date is his final pre-trial appearance on April 12 in Nez Perce County, Idaho. If he doesn't cop a plea then, he'll head to trial on April 14.

Here's the full Tribune story, which is not available online:

EX-CLARKSTON RESIDENT ESCAMILLA WINS WORLD TITLE TRIBUNE SPORTS EXTRA

Lewiston Morning Tribune:

Wednesday, December 8, 1993

Rafael Escamilla, a former Clarkston High student and math teacher, is now a world champion.

The 33-year-old recently took first place in the 33-39 age division of the 181-pound class at the World National Powerlifting Federation National Championships. The championships were held Nov. 11-14 at Daytona Beach, Fla.

Powerlifting is a form of weightlifting that combines the total weights lifted in three events squats, bench press and dead lift.

The meet drew powerlifters from Europe, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and the United States.

The meet was drug free as all competitors were tested for steroids.

Escamilla, who graduated from CHS in 1978, squatted 570, bench pressed 350 and dead lifted 600 pounds for a 1,520 total. He beat out 15 other competitors in the class.

Escamilla, who is currently finishing up his PhD degree in biochemics from Auburn University, said he started competiting about 14 years ago after playing college football at Linfield.

''We'd always have weightlifting competition among teammates and that's how I started,'' he said. ''I started doing strong man competition then.''

Escamilla, who taught at Clarkston High in 1983-89, goes to about 2-3 competitions a year. He said he goes on 10-week training cycles prior to a competitions and works out anywhere from 2-5 hours a day.

''It's pretty taxing on the body,'' he said. ''My joints can't take the heavy weights as much, but I'm getting stronger. My personal bests keep rising.''

This was the first time Escamilla has competed in a national championship.

''I decided to do it for a couple of reasons,'' he said. ''I'm getting stronger every year and I really had an awesome training year. I took first in a regional meet and decided I might as well give it a try.''

Escamilla, who earned his masters degree from Washington State University, is a biochemist at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala. He said he hopes to earn his PhD next year and move back to the Pacific Northwest.

 
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