[Nameplate] Fair ~ 67°F  
High: 75°F ~ Low: 49°F
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Judge confines Mitchell to home

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Former Melbourne Assistant Principal Steven Mitchell was incarcerated for six nights before a judge ruled he could be placed in his wife's custody April 2.

A week prior to Mitchell's release, U.S. Magistrate Judge John F. Forester ordered the 32-year-old, level three sex offender to be taken into custody for the first time since facing the initial sexual assault charges in 2004, on the grounds that he was a danger to the community.

Mitchell's lawyer, Timothy Dudley, appealed, and a hearing was held before Chief Judge Leon Holmes.

Though Holmes agreed that Mitchell was a danger to the community because of his prior guilty plea on two previous sexual assault charges, he said home arrest was a reasonable incarceration.

Mitchell was initially charged in Izard County Circuit Court in August 2004 with six felony and eight misdemeanor charges involving inappropriate behavior with male students.

Aug. 23, 2005, a plea agreement was reached; Mitchell pled guilty to two counts of sexual assault, and was sentenced to five years probation and required to register as a sex offender.

On April 4 of this year, federal prosecutors indicted Mitchell on federal charges stemming from allegations of interstate transportation of minors with the intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct stemming from acts against some of his former FFA students while on out of state school trips.

The indictment charges that Mitchell transported students in October 2002 to Kentucky with the intent to engage in sexual activity. He is also accused of taking students to Texas in June 2002 with the intent to engage in sexual activity and again in June 2003.

On April 26, Mitchell pleaded not guilty to those charges and was ordered jailed until his court date.

Mitchell was released under the terms that he was not to leave his residence except in the case of a medical emergency, for church or for court appearances. Holmes also imposed no driving and said he was not to have access to minors with the exception of his own children.

In addition to bargaining his release, prosecutors requested that Mitchell's sex offender assessment file be read in court, including information regarding a failed polygraph.

In Mitchell's defense, Dudley presented a petition signed by approximately 75 people from Calico Rock and Pineville saying they were willing to monitor Mitchell and be held accountable for his actions.

Mitchell's current charges are punishable up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000, according to U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin.

Mitchell is also facing a civil suit in which the complainant is seeking a jury trial.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: