Police identify former Marshalltown associate principal who was found dead as target of sexual exploitation investigation

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AMES, Iowa — Police in Ames have identified a former Marshalltown Schools’ associate principal as the man who took his own life earlier this month while investigators tried to serve warrants as part of a sexual exploitation investigation.

The incident happened July 22nd at a home in the 3700 block of Columbine Circle in Ames. Officers with the Marshalltown Police Department were there to serve search and arrest warrants for 47-year-old William Terry.

As officers entered Terry’s home, they heard a gunshot come from inside. Officers found him in the basement dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. No one else was injured in the incident, and no officers fired their weapons, according to the Marshalltown Police Department.

The investigation into Terry began on July 6th when the Marshalltown Police Department was notified about allegations of sexual exploitation and inappropriate sexual contact between Terry and a former student. Terry worked as an associate principal at Marshalltown High School when the allegations of misconduct took place.

The Marshalltown Police Department is continuing to investigate the original sexual exploitation allegation.

The Marshalltown Community School District released a statement on the former staff member’s death:

The Marshalltown Community School District is aware of the death of a former staff member announced today by the Marshalltown Police Department. The former staff member was being investigated by police in relation to allegations involving a former student. Student safety is the number one priority for the Marshalltown CSD, and any accusation of a crime which may impact student safety is taken very seriously. This is an active investigation, and any questions should be directed toward the MPD. Counseling services will be available for students and staff Monday-Thursday next week. More details will be sent to families and staff regarding counseling services.

Action steps

The Marshalltown CSD took swift action to address recent allegations of misconduct against former employees and will continue to cooperate fully with the MPD. As a result of the allegations, the District is reviewing all existing selection and hiring processes. The District will also be providing additional training on staff ethics and responsibilities, and is reviewing the curriculum to ensure all students are informed about reporting – and empowered to seek help – if a concerning situation arises. Additionally, the Marshalltown CSD is teaming up with community partners to continue strengthening our existing policies, practices, and procedures to ensure the highest level of protection for students. These and any additional steps are critical to providing a safe, enriching learning environment for Bobcat students.

DR. THERON J. SCHUTTE, SUPERINTENDENT OF MARSHALLTOWN COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISCTRICT

The incident follows two other recent allegations of sexual misconduct against Marshalltown school employees.

Mark Esquivel, 26, was arrested on June 30 and charged with sexual exploitation by a school employee. Investigators said he repeatedly contacted a 17-year-old in an attempt to solicit sexual contact. The Marshalltown Community School District said Esquivel has already resigned his position as a physical education teacher at Marshalltown High School.

Earlier this month, a Marshalltown middle school teacher facing charges of having inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old student was found dead. The body of Adam Edgington, 42, of Nevada, Iowa, was found in his car parked in a field on July 8. Authorities said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Edgington’s death came a day after he was arrested and charged with sexual exploitation by a school employee. The allegation was reported to police in late June.

According to the complaint, Edgington was accused of kissing, hugging, holding hands with and fondling the 13-year-old several times within the last school year. The student was in one of his classes.

Edgington had been released from jail on bond and was due to appear in court later that month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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