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Charges dismissed against former Tri-West administrators

Failure to Make a Report charges dismissed
begles_tri_west.jpg
Posted at 9:46 AM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 12:33:32-04

HENDRICKS COUNTY — Criminal charges have been dismissed against two former Hendricks County school administrators who admitted they failed to report suspected child abuse or neglect as required by Indiana law.

Stacey Begle, former dean of students at Tri-West High School, and Nathan Begle, former athletic director at Tri-West High School, who are married, were both charged in July 2020 with Failure to Make a Report, a misdemeanor.

On July 12, 2021, they signed a pretrial diversion agreement with Hendricks County prosecutors in which they admitted to the Failure to Make a Report charge, and agreed to not commit a new criminal offense during the one-year agreement, work at suitable employment and promptly respond to telephone calls and letters from the prosecutor’s office.

The agreement said prosecutors would dismiss the case after a year if the Begles met all the requirements.

On July 14, a Hendricks County court dismissed the charges against the Begles and terminated a no contact order with the victim that had been in place.

The agreement said if the Begles had violated the agreement, prosecutors could have moved forward with prosecution.

The couple released a statement in 2021 through Stacey's attorney.

"The Begles care deeply about the safety of students in any environment. They accepted a pre-trial diversion, which will ultimately result in the dismissal of these charges, in part because they wanted to spare the staff, students, and community the grief of a trial and prevent further disruption at Tri-West. They are grateful to all of the community members who have reached out to them and shared their support."

Nathan and Stacey Begle were terminated by the North West Hendricks School Corporation in September 2020.

The Begles both reached a settlement agreement with the Indiana Department of Education on Oct. 7, 2021.

As part of the agreement obtained by WRTV Investigates, the Begles’ teaching licenses were both suspended for two years and they can reapply to teach in Indiana.

IDOE spokesperson Holly Lawson told WRTV this week neither of them have re-applied for educator licensure.

Nathan Begle’s teaching license is listed as “expired” in online records, and no records at all come up for Stacey Begle.

According to court documents, the school district received multiple tips in February 2019 about teacher and coach Tyler Bruce working out alone with a female student with the door locked.

The tips also alleged an inappropriate, sexual relationship between Bruce and the student, who was 16-years-old at the time.

Prosecutors say, Stacey Begle, Nathan Begle, and Adam Benner, the principal at the time, had a meeting in which Benner told the Begles to bring any further information directly to him.

Benner said he and Nathan spoke with Bruce about no longer working out with the alleged victim, however, no one reported the allegations to the Indiana Department of Child Services or law enforcement at the time.

Benner also reached a pretrial agreement with prosecutors, however, his agreement included a requirement to write an apology letter to the victim.

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On May 3, 2019, attendance secretary David Pyatt saw the alleged victim and Bruce in his office with the lights off and later reported it to DCS.

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Following Pyatt’s report, the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office started investigating.

When an HCSO deputy spoke to Stacey in May, Stacey told the deputy they already heard about the allegations involving Bruce and it “had already been investigated and was determined to be without merit,” court records show.

Stacey continued to bring information to Benner, records show.

David Pyatt urged Stacey to call DCS saying she was required to report it, and Stacey said she did not consider the deputy’s or Pyatt’s observations to be “new information,” records show.

On Nov. 4, 2019, a search warrant was granted for Bruce’s school email account and personnel record.

Court documents show there was no indication of Stacey or Nathan Begle making any contact with Bruce in any way regarding the tips and concerned received in February 2019.

On Feb. 28, 2020, the school district announced the Begles were placed on paid administrative leave following a complaint filed by the Indiana Department of Education.

The former superintendent, Mike Springer, tried to fire the Begles in September 2019, but the board allowed them to return to their positions until the IDOE took steps against the Begles’ licenses.

Tyler Bruce pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of attempted obstruction of justice as part of a plea agreement with Hendricks County Prosecutors.

As part of the plea, prosecutors dismissed three charges, including child seduction and obstruction of justice.

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