April 21, 2014

Belmond-Klemme teacher pleads “not guilty” to sexual exploitation

The teacher and coach from Belmond-Klemme High School who’s accused of sexually exploiting a student has waived her preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty in Wright County District Court. Thirty-three-year-old Jodi Barrus was scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Wednesday after turning herself in to authorities last week.

According to online court records, Barrus’ attorney entered her written plea and the waiver of the preliminary hearing on Monday. The charge comes after the Belmond-Klemme School District had requested that the Wright County Sheriff’s Department conduct an investigation into possible wrong-doing.

Wright County Sheriff Paul Schultz has stated that the alleged victim is an 18-year-old male student at the school who had a sexual relationship with Barrus between December and this month. Barrus is still free on $10,000 bond. Sexual exploitation by a school employee is a Class D felony, and if convicted Barrus could face no more than five years in prison.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City