The sexual exploitation conviction of a former Iowa high school assistant basketball coach has been reversed.
The Iowa Supreme Court released its decision Friday in Patrick Nicoletto’s case. He was originally convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor by a school employee in October of 2012.
The investigation discovered Nicoletto, who worked at a local pipe manufacturer, was having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old member of the girls basketball team he was an assistant coach for. Nicoletto was the freshman coach and assistant varsity coach for Davis County High School.
In his appeal, Nicoletto’s lawyer argued that because his client was not a teacher he did not fall under the state’s definition of a school employee.
The sexual exploitation statute defines a “practitioner” as “an administrator, teacher, or other licensed professional, including an individual who holds a statement of professional recognition, who provides educational assistance to students.”
The state prosecutors categorized Nicoletto as “other licensed professional” because he held a coaching authorization.
In its ruling, the Iowa Supreme Court stated the statute doesn’t apply to Nicoletto because he wasn’t a “licensed professional,” “teacher,” or “administrator.”
Nicoletto had originally been sentenced to five years in prison and was placed on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry.
Nicoletto’s case is being remanded to district court to have the charges dismissed.