Iowa Supreme Court reverses coach’s sexual exploitation conviction (May 2014 School Leader Update)
The Iowa Supreme Court recently reversed the sexual exploitation conviction of a part-time assistant high school basketball coach because the court found that the coach, who only held a coaching authorization, was not a “practitioner” as defined in Iowa Code section 272.1(7). The court noted, however, that a coach who holds a teaching license or other professional license is clearly subject to prosecution under Iowa Code section 709.15(3) for sexual exploitation, but a coach who holds a coaching authorization alone is not. There was a strong dissenting opinion in this case by Justices Thomas Waterman and Edward Mansfield, who wrote that the majority ruling in the case was an absurd result. The case was remanded to district court with instructions to dismiss the charges.
Since the ruling was released, there has been a strong response from education stakeholders to fix this legal loophole. On April 14, Governor Branstad issued a press release calling for legislative action to fix the loophole left by this ruling.
The full opinion by the court can be found here.
State of Iowa v. Patrick Ryan Nicoletto