A Wasatch County School District teaching aide was arrested Tuesday on accusations she gave alcohol to three high school students and threatened one of the youths to not tell police about it.
The 33-year-old, who previously worked with the state Division of Child and Family Services, is accused of inviting a 17-year-old girl and two male students to her house in Park City, where she allegedly gave them alcohol, according to a Summit County Sheriff’s Office news release.
The release states that during this Sept. 20 gathering she also “encouraged the female student to have sexual contact with one of the males.” A statement of probable cause for the woman’s arrest said the girl was injured during subsequent contact with a male.
The students all attend schools in Wasatch County School District. The 33-year-old is employed at Midway Elementary, in that district, and has been placed on administrative leave because of the criminal investigation, district spokeswoman Kirsta Albert said.
The Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office interviewed the woman in November after receiving an anonymous tip that she was inappropriate with students, according to the probable cause statement. She allegedly told police the students hadn’t been to her house.
Wasatch County deputies stopped looking into the matter after determining that if anything illegal had happened, it occurred in Summit County, where the woman lives, the probable cause statement said. It does not disclose whether the office ever contacted Summit County about the case.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office started investigating after the girl later came forward with allegations, Lt. Andrew Wright said.
Police say that after the interview with Wasatch County, the woman later texted the 17-year-old girl and told her to lie to the police if she was questioned about being at the older woman’s home.
The woman, who was previously the teenager’s DCFS caseworker, allegedly threatened to reveal personal information about the student if that student reported the gathering to police. The details were information the woman learned in her earlier role as teen’s caseworker, the probable cause statement specified.
The woman was booked into Summit County Jail on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, witness tampering and child abuse.
Albert said in a statement the aide was hired at the beginning of the year and that she had passed the district’s “extensive background check standards." The district declined to release additional information or further comment because of the ongoing investigation.
"Any parents with specific concerns about this case should contact their principal or law enforcement,” the statement read.
The Salt Lake Tribune generally doesn’t identify people accused of crimes who have not been charged.