Former Utah high school counselor charged for alleged sexual contact with a student

(Photo courtesy of Dixie State University) Heidi Tasso

A woman who formerly worked as a high school counselor in St. George was charged Tuesday with having a “sexual encounter” with a female student in 2008.

Heidi Tasso, 50, faces one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a 17-year-old, a third-degree felony, in 5th District Court.

According to charging documents, Tasso was employed at Millcreek High School in St. George when she worked with the teen. The two had a “sexual encounter” at Tasso’s house the night of June 2, 2008, charges say.

Deputy Washington County Attorney Ryan Shaum said prosecutors are aware of another investigation into an incident involving Tasso and a minor that allegedly occurred “years prior” to the 2008 incident. However, Shaum said, regardless of whether investigators could have found prosecutable evidence in that case, a statute of limitations would prevent it from moving forward.

Shaum said the investigation into the 2008 incident began in June 2016.

Washington County School District spokesman Steven Dunham said Tasso was originally hired by the district in 1998. When the district learned of allegations against Tasso on Sept. 2, 2015, officials “immediately” contacted authorities and began an investigation into her conduct, Dunham said.

Tasso resigned nine days later. And four days after that, the district turned over its findings to the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission.

Tasso later worked for Dixie State University as the Student Success Center director from February 2016 to October 2016, university spokeswoman Jyl Hall said in an email. Tasso is no longer employed by the university, Hall said.

Hall declined to comment on whether Tasso was fired or resigned, citing it as a personnel matter. In general, it is the university’s policy to perform a background check “as a condition of employment for any final applicant for a position that involves significant contact with minors or is considered to be security sensitive by the university,” Hall said.

Tasso’s case was assigned to Judge John Walton. No court dates had been set as of early Wednesday afternoon.

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