School sex allegations, deaths stun Marshalltown
Third investigation, second death of employee within weeks
Another death of a former school employee and more allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct have come forth in a string of alleged incidents within the Marshalltown Community School District.
A former Marshalltown school employee was found dead in Ames on Thursday as local police were serving a warrant. Allegations of sexual exploitation and sexual contact between the man and former student had been underway since July 6.
The former school employee, whose name will be released pending family notification, was working in the school district at the time the allegations of misconduct occurred.
This marks the third allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct to become public following two other arrests and one other death of a Marshalltown school employee in the past month. On June 30, 26-year-old physical education teacher Mark Edward Farris Esquivel was arrested for sexual exploitation of a 17-year-old student. Within the following week, a Miller Middle School English teacher, 42-year-old Adam E. Edgington was arrested for sexual exploitation of a 13-year-old student. According to criminal complaints within the case, Edgington was accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a 13-year-old student. Shortly following his arrest he was found dead.
The investigation involving Edgington has been closed, while the investigations regarding Esquivel is pending trial.
In the midst of the ongoing investigations, Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper defended the Marshalltown Community School District.
“I think it’s important for people to know that we have a great school district here,” Tupper said. “I’m a proud Bobcat parent and I confidently send my children to school here in this district. This has been an unusual set of circumstances. In my 29 years of law enforcement, the last 10 as the police chief in this community, I can’t think of three other cases in my career involving teachers let alone three in such a short period of time. These are unusual circumstances, but it doesn’t define our school district. We have a great school district here, we have great leadership, we have great teachers and they’re working hard to provide quality education in a safe environment and I know that they’re going to continue to do good work.”
Bianca Greazel, who has three sons attending Marshalltown schools, said now is a time to rally as a community and support the district and students.
“This could happen in any district,” Greazel said. “I feel confident the administration and school district staff have measures in place to protect our children and that will be brought into an even sharper focus.”
She said it’s a time to have difficult, honest conversations with kids.
“We need to ask how they feel and be open to listen,” she said.
Superintendent Theron Schutte addressed the first two allegations at a Monday school board meeting, stating the district would leave no stone left unturned in evaluating their policies, practices and procedures, but said there was nothing in the hiring or screening process indicating there was a potential for these events to occur.
In a statement released Friday, Schutte issued action steps the school district will be taking and said the district will continue to cooperate fully with the MPD.
“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,” Schutte said.
Schutte said the school district is reaching out to Child Abuse and Prevention Services to access any resources to potentially prevent future incidents, and has been working with Center Associates and Central Rivers Area Education Agency to provide counseling services to students, staff and families.
The investigation of the former employee from Ames is still ongoing, Tupper said.
Anyone with information the active investigations to call the department at
641-754-5725. Tips can also be submitted via text message by texting the word “marshall” followed by the tip to 274637 or online at www.marshallcountycs.com. All tips are anonymous.
Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or