POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Former school teacher Tiffany Marie Petersen has entered an Alford Plea to a misdemeanor charge of injury to a child. According to the Bannock County Prosecutor's Office, that plea essentially means a person maintains innocence but concedes there is enough evidence that they could be found guilty.
Deputy Bannock County Prosecutor Nick Tranmer said the plea was agreed to after a mediation that included her alleged victim. She was originally charged with felony rape and lewd conduct with a minor child.
The victim in the case was a first-grade student at the time of the incident in 2008. He is now 18-years-old.
Petersen was sentenced this week to two years probation, with the stipulation that she is not allowed near children unsupervised unless they are her own. She also received a $1,000 fine with a potential 180 day jail term if she does not comply with probation.
As part of the process, the court agreed to drop the initial charges and arraign Petersen under a new case number.
In a separate action, although a specific teacher was not named, the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District disclosed this week that it had placed one of its teachers on administrative leave.
In its announcement, the school district said:
"At this time, it is worth repeating that any and all incidents, alleged or confirmed, are subject to very strict confidentiality laws protecting both students and staff members. Just like any other employer or business, District employees have legal protections in place, especially in light of any workplace investigation, and more so, in a criminal investigation. Likewise, students are guaranteed that same right through federal privacy law in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
With today's arraignment, there has clearly been a change in circumstances, and the District is in the process of evaluating its next steps moving forward. Idaho code 74-106 (1) prevents Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 from disclosing information regarding active personnel matters."
There are no future court dates scheduled in the case at this time.