The former Davis County Schools employee accused of sexually exploiting a student is closer to standing trial, after a judge rejected his effort to have his charges dismissed.
Paul Fleetwood was arrested last September after an investigation determined he had tried to start an inappropriate relationship with a Davis County student. Court records indicate the incident happened in July of 2018. Fleetwood was charged with one count of sexual exploitation by a school employee, and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.
The 51-year-old Fleetwood had asked the court to dismiss the sexual exploitation charge, claiming he hadn’t been a school employee and that the minor in question wasn’t a student. Fleetwood was in charge of the Sustainable Foods program in the Davis County district, but since he was under contract through national service agency AmeriCorps, he said he didn’t work for the school. He also argued that, because the incident happened in the summer, the female victim wasn’t enrolled in classes and therefore wasn’t considered a student.
Judge Kirk Daily, however, emphatically rejected both claims. He ruled that prosecutors had already established Fleetwood’s paycheck came from the school district, making him an employee. Daily also noted that, if Iowa law were read in a way that minors weren’t considered students in the summer, the law would be providing a window for school employees to have sexual contact with them.
On Tuesday, Fleetwood’s attorney filed a motion asking Daily to reconsider his ruling. A trial date has not been set in the case.