The Ottumwa Courier

Education

March 20, 2013

Former teacher convicted of sexual misconduct

BLOOMFIELD — A former Davis County educator has been found guilty of inappropriate behavior with a minor student.

There was no jury needed for the “trial in the minutes” of Ryan Grinstead, who had been charged with multiple counts of felony sexual misconduct.

On Monday, the 8th District Court of Iowa filed an order for a pre-sentencing investigation. A judge ordered sentencing for 9:30 a.m. April 29.

Though the prosecutors involved in the case were not available on Tuesday, the State Attorney General’s Office confirmed the guilty verdict.

“A trial in the minutes [is when] the judge reviews the evidence to determine whether or not we’ve proven the charge,” said attorney Scott Brown, division director of area prosecution for the Iowa AG.  

It’s a type of bench trial, Brown confirmed, and is agreed to by both parties.

“The benefit for us, it’s a way, on occasion, to resolve a case short of a full-fledged bench or jury trial.”

The benefit to the defendant, Brown said, is that they do not have to admit guilt, like when someone pleads guilty to a lesser charge.

What was unclear Tuesday is exactly which charges Grinstead has been found guilty of. The court’s order on the matter has been forwarded to the prosecutor in the case, and so was temporarily unavailable to the division director.

The Bloomfield Police Department originally arrested Grinstead in September of 2011, when he was charged with sexual exploitation by a school employee. That’s a Class D felony, with a punishment of up to five years in prison.

However, after an investigation, Bloomfield Police claimed they had enough evidence to file additional charges that October.

Those charges were lascivious conduct with a minor, a serious misdemeanor, and third-degree sexual abuse, a class C felony carrying up to a 10-year sentence. The charges were listed Tuesday morning, but by Tuesday afternoon, charging information for those other charges had been taken down from Iowa Courts Online.

According to papers filed in Davis County District Court by the police investigators, during the 2009 school year, math teacher Grinstead “engaged in a course of conduct to engage in sexual conduct with a student. The defendant was employed as a Davis County High School teacher and the student was a senior” during that time period.

The complaint against Grinstead continues: “Sex acts occurred at the apartment of [Grinstead] ... and in the classroom where [Grinstead] taught. The defendant ... also engaged in physical abuse against the student.”

Bloomfield Police Chief Shawn Armstrong said later that the second felony concerned a female who was younger than the high school senior in the first charge.

On March 14, Grinstead agreed to give up his right to a jury trial. That trial would have begun Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the family has filed a petition in civil court in Wapello County, naming Grinstead, plus another former Davis County coach, Ryan Nicoletto (who was convicted last year of sexual exploitation of a student by a school employee) and the Davis County school district itself.

Officials with the school district were unavailable for comment on either the Grinstead verdict or the potential lawsuit.

At the beginning of March, the clerk of court’s office reports that Grinstead’s lawyer sent a response to the petition.

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