ST. GEORGE – A former Hurricane High School teacher accused of having an inappropriate relationship with one of his students waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Aaron Karl Esplin, 40, of Laverkin chose not to force the state to prove their case, instead opting to go straight to an arraignment where he will be formally charged.
Esplin was arrested in April and currently faces a second-degree felony for sexual exploitation of a minor and a class A misdemeanor for sexual battery. He is scheduled to appear in front of 5th District Judge Jeffrey Wilcox September 12 for a resolution hearing.
Esplin started as a special education teacher at Hurricane High School 13 years ago and also taught Drivers Education. He also coached the junior varsity baseball team.
According to the probable cause statement, a student initially told the principal about the alleged relationship between the teacher and his 17-year-old student.
A school resource officer then spoke with the girl who “admitted to having a relationship with the teacher and having sent photographs to the teacher of herself naked from her phone to his phone via Snapchat,” court documents state.
The officer confiscated the phones from both individuals where he allegedly found the photos.
Esplin later admitted to authorities to hugging the teen and grabbing her buttocks on multiple occasions, the report states.
“He also admitted to touching her back and stomach under her clothes on more than one occasion,” the officer said in the statement.
When questioned about the nude photos, Esplin allegedly told investigators he asked the student to send him naked photos of herself which he saved to his phone.
Snapchat is a photo and video sharing phone app where the images are only available for a short time before they are deleted from the app. It is possible, however, for the receiver to save the images through external applications or photographing the screen.
Esplin was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility but is now free on $16,950 bail.
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