Former Garfield County School District Business Administrator Justin Baugh pleaded guilty to two third degree felonies of misuse of public funds in Garfield County’s Sixth District Court on Thursday, November 29.

In exchange for his guilty plea, Baugh will be on probation for three years and must complete the terms of his plea in abeyance (an agreement that allows the court to dismiss the violation upon completion of certain criteria), which includes 30 days in jail and a restitution payment of $15,000. He also cannot commit any crime during those three years.   

Jerry Jaeger, with the Washington County Attorney’s Office, was assigned as the special lead prosecutor for Baugh’s case because Garfield County Attorney Barry Huntington had a conflict of interest in the case (a family member of Huntington’s worked for the school district). 

Jaeger says they agreed to the plea in abeyance because Baugh had no previous criminal record:  “The case has been going on for three and a half years now, and so we’re very grateful to finally come to a resolution where justice is served. I’m very thankful for all the help I got from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department, especially Deputy Kevin Moore and Deputy Eric Houston. They’ve worked very hard on the case, and spent a lot of time over the past few years…and because of their dedication we were able to first of all crack the case and get the charges filed. Then, also, they were able to see it all through and I believe that based on their hard work that’s what helped to get the case resolved.”

Baugh, formerly of Tropic, Utah, was arrested in May of 2010, after a Utah State auditors’ report found Baugh had taken Garfield County School District money while working as Garfield County School District Business Administrator from 2008 to 2009.