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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Mitchell faces federal charges

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Steven Mitchell
Though it's been over a year since Steven Mitchell pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault, new charges against the former Melbourne assistant principal surfaced April 4.

Mitchell, 32, of Pineville was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges related to the interstate transportation of minors with the intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct, according to U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin.

In June 2004 Mitchell, who was also an agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America (FFA) sponsor, was charged with two counts of first degree sexual assault, two counts of second degree sexual assault, solicitation to commit sexual assault, sexual indecency with a child, five counts of indecent exposure and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

In the original charges, many of Mitchell's male students, ranging from 13 to 18 years of age, told authorities he encouraged them to expose their genitals and commit various sexual acts while on school sponsored FFA trips from the spring of 2002 to the spring of 2004.

Aug. 23, 2005, 16th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Don McSpadden and Mitchell's attorneys Gray Dellinger and Jack Lassiter avoided trial and reached a plea agreement.

Mitchell pled guilty to two felony counts of sexual assault, and prosecutors dropped the other four felony charges and eight misdemeanor charges.

In addition, Izard County Circuit Judge Tim Weaver sentenced Mitchell to five years of probation and ordered Mitchell to register as a sex offender and attend counseling for pedophiles.

The new 12-count indictment stems from the out-of- state FFA trips in which Mitchell allegedly assaulted his students.

Mitchell will appear for arraignment before United States Magistrate Judge John F. Forster Jr. April 26.

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