AURORA | Aurora Public Schools moved one step closer Tuesday to firing a teacher who was convicted of sexually abusing a minor he taught at an Arizona school about 20 years ago.
In Colorado, dismissals of non-probationary teachers must be presented to a school board before they take effect, and teachers have a right to appeal the decision.
Former Vista PEAK Spanish teacher Mark Lindrud was arrested last summer in connection with sex crimes against a minor in Arizona in 2002 and 2003, according to police.
A news release from the Oro Valley Police Department said Lindrud was convicited of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old student while he was a teacher at Ironwood Ridge High School in Oro Valley in 2002 and 2003.
He was convicted of three counts of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15, a class 2 felony; one count of sexual abuse of a minor, a class 3 felony, and 17 counts of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 18, a class 6 felony.
According to reporting from KVOA news in Tucson, Lindrud was found guilty on all counts in a jury trial in July. According to court documents, on August 5 he was sentenced to 66 years and nine months in prison in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Lindrud has been on an unpaid leave from teaching since his arrest, APS chief personnel officer Damon Smith told The Sentinel. As part of the process of firing him, the APS board of education was presented with a recommendation for his dismissal at its Tuesday evening meeting.
The board was provided with a memo about the recommendation, which was not publicly released due to the sensitive nature of the circumstances, Smith said.
Now that the board has received the recommendation, Lindrud will be notified of the board’s intent to dismiss and have 10 days to respond, Smith said. If he does not contest the dismissal, it will happen automatically. If he chooses to contest, it will then be reviewed at the state level.
A LinkedIn profile for a user named Mark Lindrud says that Lindrud has taught Spanish at Vista PEAK since 2018. According to his hiring application at APS, he previously taught at a number of schools in Douglas County, Denver and other parts of the metro area after moving from Arizona to Colorado.
In 2011, Lindrud was charged in Arapahoe County with driving under the influence and failure to display proof of insurance, but the charges were dismissed, according to court records.