National

25-year-old posed as a Hurricane Harvey victim — and enrolled in high school, Texas officials say

Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley is charged with tampering with government records.
Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley is charged with tampering with government records. Dallas County Jail

Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas when it swept through the state last year, but a 25-year-old man used the natural disaster as an opportunity to enroll in high school again, according to authorities.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa says Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley portrayed himself as a victim of the storm and enrolled in the district’s schools, FOX 4 reported Tuesday.

Authorities say Gilstrap-Portley first enrolled as a teenage freshman at Skyline High School in August, the news station reported. At that time, he told school officials he was homeless, Hinojosa said.

“We have some liberal policies for homeless students, but he took — he knew that and he took advantage," he said.

But then he transferred to Hillcrest High School in October, where he played for the basketball team, authorities said, NBC 5 reported. Officials say he enrolled under the name Rashun Richardson.

The school was on to him when a former coach at another school saw Gilstrap-Portley playing in a basketball tournament in April, authorities said, the Dallas Morning News reported. The coach told the Hillcrest coach that one of his former players who graduated “a time ago is playing for you,” a district spokeswoman told the newspaper.

FOX 4 reports that high-schoolers thought he was a 17-year-old student. A mom alleged to the news station that Gilstrap-Portley was romantically interested in her daughter and touched her “inappropriately.” Police told FOX 4 it’s reviewing those allegations.

Phillip Randall, who says he coached Gilstrap-Portley at North Mesquite High School until he graduated in 2011, described him as a “good kid.”

"I never had any problems out of him,” Randall told The Dallas Morning News. “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 was charged Friday with tampering with government records, NBC 5 reported.

Aerial video shot with a drone shows a portion of the destruction suffered by the Gulf Coast community of Aransas Pass, Texas, which took a near direct hit from Hurricane Harvey in August. Rebuilding and recovery are likely to stretch several mont

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments