The trial for former Fruitland High School principal Mike Fitch has been set back to later this year.
Fitch is currently facing charges that stemmed from alleged encounters with his female co-worker, including two counts of sexual battery and one count of soliciting for prostitution, all of which are misdemeanors. He entered a not guilty plea on Feb. 25.
The trial was originally going to start on July 26, but has been pushed to Oct. 1 at the Canyon County Court-house. The transfer of the trial from Payette County to Canyon County took place during a May 30 meeting.
Fitch had been at the helm of the high school since 2010, as well as boys basketball coach and assistant football coach. He was put on administrative leave after a Nov. 16 special board meeting by the school district. He had taught at the school for 12 years prior to becoming principal.
A tort claim against the school was filed on March 5 on behalf of the female co-worker, in which she alleges the school district’s top official had direct knowledge of ongoing sexual harassment toward other women.
Two more separate tort claims were filed on April 8 and April 9 regarding accusations from two students.
In those, the claimants allege the harassment was not exclusive to school hours, taking place both on and off school property, and all are seeking both economic and non-economic damages, amounts for which are to be determined at trial. Furthermore, each claimant states that Fitch’s behavior was “well-known” by school administration, alleging school officials did not conduct investigations accordingly.
It is unknown whether Idaho State Police, when conducting its investigation in November about the accusation from Fitch’s coworker, knew about the accusations brought forth by students. When reaching out to a spokesman to verify knowledge of the matter, the response was that there would be no further comment, as the matter had been turned over to Payette County Prosecutor’s Office.
It is also unknown at this time whether any charges are pending regarding the students’ claims.
On April 18, Fruitland School District Superintendent Teresa Fabricius sent out a press release stating that Fitch had resigned his position.
Fabricius had been serving as the top administrator of the high school since Fitch was put on leave in November. Marci Haro (of western Oregon) was hired to be the school’s new principal on May 21 at a Fruitland School Board special meeting. Haro’s first day as principal will be on July 31.