CENTERVILLE — A popular drama teacher at a Woods Cross charter school has been charged with molesting a 14-year-old student.
James D. Stokes, 61, was charged Wednesday in 2nd District Court with two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. The drama teacher at the Legacy Preparatory Academy is accused of fondling a 14-year-old student and having her inappropriately touch him, said Centerville Police Sgt. Von Steenblik.
The incidents allegedly happened in January when the two were preparing for a play. He offered her a ride home after rehearsal, Steenblik said. Twice he took her on a remote dirt road, parked and had her get in the back seat, where the assaults occurred, the sergeant said. Each incident was about a week apart.
In July, the girl told her parents what had happened, Steenblik said. Additional evidence was obtained Monday, and Stokes was arrested at his home in Farmington on Tuesday.
Wednesday was the first day of classes for the school.
School administrators, parents and students were reportedly shocked by the arrest.
"He was a very well liked teacher," Steenblik said. "We've heard from a lot of parents and school administrators who are totally shocked by this. He was very well respected."
Stokes was about to start his fourth year at the academy. Prior to that, he taught in the Ogden area at both a high school and a junior high for six years.
Steenblik said there was a "good possibility" there are other victims.
Anyone with information on Stokes can call police at 801-292-8441.
— Pat Reavy