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Utah judge drops sex abuse case against high school teacher

Published June 26, 2013 12:03 pm

Courts • Alleged sexual abuse occurred too long ago too prosecute, judge finds.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A judge has dismissed sexual abuse charges against a former Duchesne County School District teacher and coach, agreeing with the defense that the alleged abuse happened too long ago to prosecute.

Shawn V. Mitchell, 41, was charged last April in 8th District Court with second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse in connection with a 16-year-old. The abuse allegedly occurred in October 2004.

Earlier this month, Mitchell's attorney asked the court dismiss the charge since the statute of limitations had run out. To prosecute forcible sexual abuse, state law requires the alleged crime to be reported to police within four years, and filed with the court within eight years, of when it happened.

On June 13, Judge Lyle Anderson agreed to dismiss the case.

Mitchell taught art and coached baseball at Union High School in Roosevelt, and had been employed at the school district since 2001, said Bruce Guymon, director of student services for the district, shortly after Mitchell was charged. The school district suspended Mitchell in light of the allegations.

Guymon could then not comment on whether Mitchell's alleged victim was a student or if the abuse occurred on campus.

Mitchell has no prior criminal history, according to a search of Utah court records.

Mitchell's attorney, Jed Labrum, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. The Duchesne County Attorney's Office and Guymon also could not reached.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

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