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DA: Former Casper middle school teacher to plead guilty to sexual abuse
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DA: Former Casper middle school teacher to plead guilty to sexual abuse

Waugaman initials

Jason Waugaman, 36, talks with his lawyer before his initial court appearance Jan. 17 in Casper. The former part-time teacher and tutor, who is accused of sexually abusing a former student, is expected to take a plea deal, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

A former Casper middle school teacher plans to plead guilty to sexually abusing a 14-year-old student, Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen told the Star-Tribune on Wednesday.

Itzen said that he was uncertain of the specific terms of the deal that will bring the plea from Jason Waugaman, 36, who worked for the Natrona County School District for more than a decade.

The prosecutor said, however, that an attorney in his office had reached the agreement, which court documents indicate is scheduled to be put on the court’s record in a May 7 hearing.

Marty Scott, the public defender representing Waugaman, did not immediately respond to a Wednesday afternoon voice message requesting comment for this story.

Prosecutors charged Waugaman early this year with three felony counts of sexual abuse: two in the second-degree and another in the third degree.

According to court documents filed in support of the charges, law enforcement believes Waugaman in 2016 sexually abused a girl whose seventh grade class he taught for about a month.

The teenager came forward in January and told police that she had communicated with Waugaman for years, according to the documents, which state that shortly after she began messaging him, Waugaman began making sexual comments and telling the child that he loved her. He asked the girl to send him nude photos of herself and she did so, the documents state.

During summer 2016, Waugaman allegedly met the girl outside of her home. The two had sexual intercourse in the back of his car, according to her statement to police. Under Wyoming law, a 14-year-old is incapable of consenting to sex with an adult.

When the student — who is now an adult — told police this year about the incident, a detective asked her if she would re-establish contact with Waugaman. According to the documents, the two exchanged messages in which Waugaman graphically described sexual contact with the girl. He told her that he “wished they could do it again,” authorities allege. In a Jan. 15 follow-up phone call, which was overheard by a detective, Waugaman said he loved the victim and asked if she was 18, according to the documents.

The next day, Waugaman told police, according to the documents, that his relationship with the teenager was “strictly professional.” He denied using social media to contact any other students.

Waugaman told police that he had never talked to the victim “about topics of a sexual nature,” nor did he “sext” with the victim. He was then placed under arrest.

Police said in late January that Waugaman had abused multiple victims over the course of years. An agency news conference scheduled to describe the allegations and “disturbing trends found in this suspect’s crimes” was canceled the same day it was announced.

The additional allegations have not been charged and police have declined multiple times to elaborate on them.

Waugaman has been described by the district as a part-time teacher and a substitute educator. In the district’s directory, he was listed as a tutor at Dean Morgan. He has also been identified, by former students and via official websites, as the speech and debate coach at Kelly Walsh High. The district fired Waugaman shortly after prosecutors charged him with sexual abuse.

A school district spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a late Wednesday afternoon request for comment on this story.


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Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson joined the Star-Tribune in 2017. He covers courts and law enforcement agencies in Natrona County and across the state. Shane studied journalism at the University of Missouri and worked at newspapers there before moving to Wyoming.

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