March 28, 2010
Belmond, Iowa (The Weekly Vice) - Jodi Lynn Barrus, the 33-year-old Belmond-Klemme High School teacher who was accused of having sex with a male student has been cleared of all charges.
Barrus, who was arrested by Wright County Sheriff's deputies in March 2010 on charges of sexual exploitation of a student, has maintained her innocence since the investigation began.
"They came to my classroom and just made the assumption that I had sexual relations with a student," said Barrus. "He obviously had some type of infatuation. He thought I'd go to the prom with him and when I said 'absolutely not' I think he got very hurt and very angry and honestly the lie just got bigger and bigger."
Barrus, in a recent interview following the trial, explained that she sent text messages to the student, however those messages were part of a bulk mail that had been emailed to parents and other students. The content of the messages usually addressed school closures and scheduled events.
She was initially confident that law enforcement would be able to obtain the content of the messages, however, it was later learned that investigators were only able to capture the time stamps of each message, not the content of them.
"It then became my word against his," said Barrus.
At trial, defense attorney Derek Johnson stressed the lack of physical evidence and the student's history of making up stories as key parts of Barrus' defense. During closing arguments, Johnson pointed out 50 inconsistent statements that the boy reportedly made to law enforcement officers, friends and witnesses.
A Wright County District Court jury was able to come to a verdict in less than an hour. NOT GUILTY.
Barrus had been a social studies teacher and coach with the school district for 11 years. She was awarded coach of the year honors in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
In the aftermath of the trial, Mrs. Barrus and her family are struggling with a ruined reputation that often comes with high profile cases that are built on fabricated allegations.
She and her family are painfully aware that although she was declared innocent at trial, there will always be people who believe she is guilty and simply "got away with it."
To make matters worse, the cost of her defense has exceeded $30,000.
She plans to stay in Belmond and has stated that she would like to be retained as a teacher with the district.
The Weekly Vice
Posted by Danny Vice at 10:11:00 PM
Jodi Barrus - Teacher - Found Innocent Of All Charges