October 28, 2008
Arielle Beck - New Trial Scheduled For Ex-Teacher Who’s 14-Year-Old Victim Hung Herself After Testifying At Trial
Moab, Utah (The Weekly Vice) -- Arielle Beck, a 28-year-old former teacher's assistant and softball coach at a Utah school will face a new trial in a case involving the forcible sex abuse of a 14 year old girl who committed suicide after testifying in Beck's first trial.
Beck was previously convicted in 2003 of sexually assaulting and stalking a 14 year old student who attended the school she was employed by, however the case was overturned by the Utah court of appeals. The trial judge threw out the conviction upon the belief that the jury may have been influenced by the number of questions posed to Beck at the trial as well as the manner the questions were asked.
Yes, you read that right. The judge believed the conviction should be thrown out because he considered the number of questions asked during cross examination to be "prolonged and adversarial."
Prosecutors appealed that decision, however the judge's verdict to throw out the conviction was upheld by the state supreme court, who gave prosecutors the option of retrying the case.
Prosecutors have decided to pursue that second trial opportunity, despite not having the victim available for new testimony.
Kelly Sowell, the victim in the case, attempted suicide twice before giving her testimony in the first trial and finally succeeded afterwords by hanging herself to death in her bedroom closet after Beck's conviction.
Now Beck will face a new trial in the case, which has been scheduled for April 20, 2009.
Beck and the victim met in the summer of 2002 when Beck coached softball at the school the victim attended. Beck then became a teacher's assistant for the victim's English class, where she allegedly started grooming the girl for a sexual affair. This activity allegedly included sending her love letters and explicit emails.
Beck now faces charges that include one felony count of sodomy and three felony counts of forcible sexual abuse. She also faces misdemeanor charges of child abuse, supplying alcohol to a minor and allowing an unlicensed minor to drive a motor vehicle.
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
For those who continually disregard the seriousness of teacher / student sex cases, this case is a reminder of why this kind of activity is outlawed. Even when a student appears fine on the outside, there are significant statistics that show a large number of the students involved are not fine on the inside.
We hear from the students themselves from time to time - and the emails are consistent for the most part. The victims who email us do not regularly express feelings of hate or revenge. Most of the time they hate the fact that they had to go to authorities. They are embarrassed, hurt, and often wish they could just wake up the next day and learn that the whole thing was just a bad nightmare.
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Posted by Danny Vice at 6:24:00 PM