Authorities say a former associate principal found dead Thursday died from a self-inflicted gunshot as officers prepared to serve search and arrest warrants in his home

Advertisement
William Terry
William Terry
| Credit: Marshalltown High School

For the second time this month, an Iowa school district is reeling from the death of a former school employee who authorities say killed themselves in the face of alleged sexual misconduct involving a student.

On Thursday, a former high school administrator under investigation died in his basement from what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot as officers attempted to serve search and arrest warrants on his home.

Police in Ames, where the shooting occurred, identified the deceased as 47-year-old William Terry, a former associate principal at Marshalltown High School, reports Des Moines TV station WHO.

The incident followed a July 6 report to Marshalltown police alleging "potential sexual exploitation and inappropriate sexual contact between a former school employee and former student," police said in a news release.

In a statement, Marshalltown Community School District superintendent Theron Schutte confirmed, "The former staff member was being investigated by police in relation to allegations involving a former student," reports the Times-Republican.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

The alleged misconduct is the third instance reported within the district in the past two months.

According to WHO, middle school teacher Adam Edgington, 42, was found dead July 8 in his car in a field one day after his arrest on a charge of sexual exploitation by a school employee, allegedly involving inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old student. Authorities said he also died of a self-inflicted gunshot.

And on June 30, Mark Esquivel, 26, a former high school physical education teacher, was arrested on the same felony charge of sexual exploitation by a school employee. Investigators allege he repeatedly made contract trying to solicit sex from a 17-year-old.

It could not be determined if Esquivel has entered a plea or has an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Police have made no statements to indicate if any of the allegations are connected.

According to the news release from Marshalltown police regarding the latest incident, "Allegations under investigation by the Marshalltown police department involve inappropriate communication and sexual contact between a former Marshalltown school employee and a former student."

Ames police said that according to their own investigation, Marshalltown officers approached the former staff member's home around 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Officers attempting to serve a search warrant and arrest warrants had entered the home when they heard a gunshot from inside the residence, police said.

"Officers found a deceased adult male in the basement of the residence," said Marshalltown police. "Preliminary investigative results indicate the male shot himself. Nobody else present was injured. No police officers discharged their weapons."

In the statement following the most recent incident, the school superintendent said, "Student safety is the number one priority for the Marshalltown CSD, and any accusation of a crime which may impact student safety is taken very seriously."

It added: "The Marshalltown CSD took swift action to address recent allegations of misconduct against former employees and will continue to cooperate fully with the MPD. As a result of the allegations, the district is reviewing all existing selection and hiring processes. The district will also be providing additional training on staff ethics and responsibilities, and is reviewing the curriculum to ensure all students are informed about reporting – and empowered to seek help – if a concerning situation arises."

The statement continued: "Additionally, the Marshalltown CSD is teaming up with community partners to continue strengthening our existing policies, practices, and procedures to ensure the highest level of protection for students. These and any additional steps are critical to providing a safe, enriching learning environment for Bobcat students."

Police say their investigation into the allegations is continuing.