A Davis School District psychologist is accused of allegedly sharing a student’s personal information before the psychologist’s husband raped the student. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
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FARMINGTON — A Davis School District elementary school psychologist on administrative leave since August now faces a misdemeanor charge after investigators say she leaked a student’s personal information that may have led to the student rape.
Natalie Stokes, 39, of South Weber, was charged on Monday with one count of unauthorized collection, sharing or use of private student data, a Class A misdemeanor, court records show in line.
Charging documents say Stokes’ charge relates to the case against her husband, Phillip Brandon Stokes, 41, who was arrested and charged last August with a host of crimes. Phillip Stokes faces 13 felony counts in Farmington 2nd District Court, including five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, two counts of rape of a child and two counts of sodomy of a child — all first-degree felonies — among other charges.
Phillip Stokes also faces charges in federal court in Utah, consisting of single counts of making child pornography, coercion and incitement, according to federal court records.
In early 2021, members of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI opened an investigation into someone they only knew as “Christian,” according to the charging documents. In March, police said “Christian” began contacting an 11-year-old girl through TikTok, and in July, “Christian” told the girl to text him on another app. Within three hours of beginning a conversation, “‘Christian’ began aggressively and persistently asking (the girl) for nude photos of herself,” the charging documents state. The girl sent photos, according to the charging documents, while “Christian” then sent photos of his penis and other sexually explicit photos.
Text messages, which have been reviewed by police, show that on the same day in July, “Christian” persuaded the girl to meet him in a park. Judging from the messages, police believe the two men had a short initial meeting at a park, but had a second, longer meeting at the park on the same day.
“In the chats, ‘Christian’ made several comments acknowledging that sexual activity had occurred during this second encounter,” the charging documents state.
Police analyzed photos of “Christian” in the text messages and noted in the charging documents that one photo included the man wearing a t-shirt that had “a unique graphic and words on it.” Investigators then found the profile information for the account, and they discovered that the account was accessed using a specific IP address, which they traced back to Phillip Stokes, and Stokes’ address on his driver’s license matched that of the ISP’s address, state billing records.
Investigators allege a photo Stokes posted on social media showed him wearing an identical t-shirt with the unique graphic seen in the sexually explicit photos sent to the girl.
Phillip Stokes agreed to speak to police after his arrest on August 2. He reportedly told police he was behind the “Christian” character and sent the nude photos while soliciting photos of the girl. Phillip Stokes also admitted to sexually abusing the girl twice, according to charging documents.
During his interview with police, Phillip Stokes told police he got to know the girl because his wife, Natalie Stokes, was the girl’s counselor at an elementary school, according to court documents. charge in the Natalie Stokes case.
Police say he told them his wife had mentioned there was a girl who was having trouble at school, who had been in trouble, and he later learned that this girl was on TikTok.
“I guess it started out of simple curiosity like…I want to see what it’s all about. And so…I watched his videos and you know the rest,” Phillip Stokes told police, documents show. of accusation.
He had created his own TikTok account and searched for the girl “using information he received exclusively from” his wife, according to charging documents.
Prior to the assaults, Phillip Stokes told police he and Natalie Stokes were walking around the neighborhood when Natalie Stokes pointed to the girl and “personally identified her as the girl she worked with as a school psychologist,” according to charging documents.
On the same day as Phillip Stokes’ interview with the police, officers executed a search warrant at the Stokes’ home. Prior to the search, police spoke to Natalie Stokes and mentioned the girl’s name. Charging documents say Natalie Stokes was surprised and told police she was the girl’s psychologist at school. Officers asked her if she had mentioned the girl’s name to Phillip Stokes, and Natalie Stokes then told police, “I used his name. So he knows,” the charges state.
During a follow-up phone interview, police asked Natalie Stokes when she reported the girl to Phillip Stokes as she was walking through a neighborhood. Natalie told police the girl was riding her bike and said hello, then told her husband it was the girl she mentioned who was in trouble at school, according to court documents. charge.
Prosecutors allege that Natalie Stokes, a licensed school psychologist since 2007, signed three separate documents relating to the “confidentiality of student information” – in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Stokes allegedly acknowledged in the documents that she is obligated to keep the confidential student information in accordance with federal and state laws, as well as with the Davis County School District. The alleged misuse of student information forms the basis of his accusation.
In a statement to KSL.com on Tuesday, the Davis School District said it placed Natalie Stokes on paid administrative leave in August immediately after the district was notified of the police investigation. He is prohibited from contacting students and staff while the case is ongoing.
With the charge now filed, the district is “heading toward termination,” according to the statement.
“Davis School District’s goal throughout this process has been to protect students, and it will do everything possible to achieve that,” the district said. “He also worked with law enforcement officials for months as the investigation continued.”
Natalie Stokes started working for the school district in 2003 as a teacher’s assistant for six months. She then worked as a school psychologist in 2007 and 2009, then was hired as a part-time school psychologist in 2017. She started as a full-time school psychologist in 2019 at an elementary school.
On Wednesday, Natalie Stokes was not in custody. Court records show a proposed subpoena to appear in court, however, no court date is listed online.
Phillip Stokes is being held without bail at the Davis County Jail, where he has been since his arrest Aug. 2, detention records show. Phillip Stokes pleaded not guilty to his federal and state cases in August and November, respectively.