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Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

Trial date set for Steven Mitchell

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Former Melbourne High School teacher, Steven Mitchell, 33, of Pineville, has been given a trial date.

He is accused of taking students across state lines to engage in sexual activity.

Mitchell is set for jury trial at 9:15 a.m. Feb. 4 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas in Little Rock.

Mitchell was to appear in court in October 2007 on charges filed in April but appealed his case. Dec. 5, a federal superceding indictment was handed down by the U.S. Attorney's Office which replaced the previous charges and his appeal was dismissed.

Mitchell is now charged with three counts of transportation of a minor in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, one count of attempted transportation of a minor in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and one count witness tampering.

The Melbourne School District hired Mitchell in 1998 as an agriculture teacher and named him the sponsor for the school's Future Farmers of America program.

Between 2002 and 2004 it is alleged that Mitchell engaged in sexual activity with no less than eight male students, all in the FFA program, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges he took students on FFA sponsored trips and encouraged them to expose themselves or engage in other sexual activity.

The acts took place on trips to San Antonio, Atlanta, and Louisville, Ky., according to authorities.

Mitchell is alleged to have offered benefits like skipping tests and becoming FFA officers. Students were told that touching was the "biggest form of trust," and Mitchell also persuaded a student not to talk to authorities, according to the indictment.

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