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Front Page » November 5, 2010 » Breaking News » Charges against Park may be dropped
Published 1,426 days ago

Charges against Park may be dropped


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

The charges that were filed against suspended Carbon County School District Superintendent George Park this fall in Panguitch may be dropped soon, according to his defense lawyer and an email from the prosecutor handling the case.

Park, who took over the reins of running Carbon School District from Patsy Bueno in May of this year, was arrested on Aug.6 as he returned to the Carbon District office from a meeting at the district bus garage.

Price Police Sergeant Bill Barnes along with two Garfield County Sheriff's Deputies took Park into custody in front of the school district's maintenance building after checking with employees at the district office about his whereabouts.

At the time Park was arrested on a warrant out of the Sixth District Court in Garfield County that was issued on Aug. 5. The warrant alleged that Park misused public monies while superintendent of the Garfield County School District, the district he worked for for four years before being hired at Carbon. The charges on the warrant were considered a second degree felony.

That afternoon a special board meeting was held at the Carbon School District office so that board members could discuss the situation. At that time the board decided to put Park on paid administrative leave. The paid administrative leave status, however, was changed on Oct. 1 to non-paid administrative leave by the board.

A preliminary hearing in September was delayed and set back. For reasons not yet explained prosecution of the case was moved from the Garfield County Attorney's office to the Washington County Attorney's office last month, where Jerry Jaeger took over as the special prosecuting attorney.

During the ensuing time Park's attorney, Fred Metos of Salt Lake has been working with the Washington County Attorney's office. On Wednesday Jaeger sent an email to Metos expressing his desire to have the case dismissed "without prejudice (and) with the understanding that George continues to cooperate with us."

In a conversation with Park on the phone Friday morning the Sun Advocate learned some details about the situation and that Park and his attorney had gone point by point through the case with Jaeger and that is what has brought about the resulting email.

"The discovery documents included 445 pages," said Park. "We went through these point by point with Mr. Jaeger."

That cooperation required of Park is in connection with the case against former Garfield County School District business manager Justin Baugh, whom Park hired while superintendent of the district in 2008.

Baugh, 38, was arrested by Garfield County Sheriff deputies in West Jordan in May for alleged wrong-doing in the district. At the time Baugh was charged with three felony counts of misuse of public money, communications fraud, and tampering with a witness. Misuse of public money and communications fraud are second degree felonies and tampering with a witness is a third degree felony. The tampering charge came from allegations that Baugh had directed Garfield employees to shred some evidence that could shed light on the case. By the time he was arrested, Baugh had accepted and was working in the Canyon School District in Salt Lake County in another administrative job.

When Jaeger's office was contacted on Thursday by the Sun Advocate his secretary said that he would be out of the office and unavailable for comment.

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