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Former teacher waives preliminary hearing

Sun Advocate publisher

On Monday, a former Helper Junior High School teacher who was charged with three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor made a request through her attorney to have a preliminary hearing in the case waived and to move directly to trial, according to the Carbon County Attorney's Office.

"A trial date has been set for Oct. 26 in the case," said Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate.

The trial will take place in Judge Douglas B. Thomas' court.

In August, the Carbon County Attorney's Office filed a formal criminal complaint in 7th District Court charging 28-year-old Melissa A. Andreini with unlawful sexual activity relating to three separate incidents with a 15-year-old boy who was a student at the school.

"The incidents reportedly occurred during the summer when school was not in session," Strate pointed out at the time.

Andreini apparently never taught the minor as a student in one of her classes. The alleged unlawful sexual activities never took place at the junior high school itself. The minor no longer attends the Helper school, but reportedly is a student at Carbon High School this year.

At the time, Strate and Deputy County Attorney Jeremy Humes explained that the Utah Department of Child and Family Services received allegations regarding Andreini's behavior sometime in July. The department subsequently contacted the Helper City Police Department. They then launched a criminal investigation into the matter. Helper Police Chief Trent Anderson headed the investigation, conducted interviews and forwarded the information to the county attorney's office for review.

After the county attorney's office evaluated the evidence, Humes obtained a court-issued subpoena authorizing the prosecution's access to the defendant's and victim's cell phones. Cell phone records, coupled with the investigative evidence gathered by the Helper police department, resulted in the prosecution deciding to file the three felony charges against Andreini.

Andreini voluntarily turned herself in to Anderson at the Carbon County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 17, at which time she was booked into the jail. In a court hearing, the bail was fixed at $10,000. After Andreini posted the designated bail amount, the jail released the defendant from official custody later on Aug. 18.

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