Former teacher Dustin Mead pleads guilty to harassment charges


Ashley Long

Mead watches a varsity boys’ soccer game against Des Moines Lincoln in 2015.

Nick Irwin, Online Editor

Former teacher Dustin Mead’s attorneys submitted an Alford plea regarding the charges of harassment in the first degree. “I plead guilty,” The court documents read. “There have been no promises or threats to get me to plead guilty.”

Mead was charged with sexual abuse in the third degree, a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and sexual exploitation by a school employee, a class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Mead was scheduled to appear in court Mar. 26 at 9 a.m., but submitted the plea at 8:44 a.m. on the day of the trial. An Alford plea is a guilty plea in criminal court in which the defendant does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence, but admits that the evidence the prosecution has would be likely to persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The plea reduced the charge of sexual exploitation by a school employee down to a charge of harassment in the first degree, an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of $6,250. The plea also allowed for the charge of sexual abuse in the third degree was dropped. “I believe I have nothing to gain by going to trial and I have much to gain by pleading guilty,” The plea reads. “The substantial benefit for my plea of guilty is: dismissal of count one [sexual abuse in the third degree] and reduction of count two [sexual exploitation by a school employee].”

Sentencing for Mead is scheduled for April 9 at 8:15 a.m. Mead is ordered to appear in person for sentencing. Mead’s bond is continued pending sentencing.