ITASCA, Texas — The Itasca Independent School District suspended Superintendent Michael Stevens days after investigators arrested him in a six-month-long sex sting.
The district's Board of Trustees made the announcement during a special meeting early Monday morning.
Itasca ISD's Keith Boles will step into Stevens' role starting Tuesday, the board said. Boles previously served as Interim Superintendent.
There are no known connections between the allegations made against Stevens and students at Itasca ISD, according to board president Brian Bassett. Stevens will be suspended with pay.
"Our students are safe and will continue to thrive and succeed with the dedicated attention and service brought by our outstanding parents and staff," Bassett said.
Board members started the meeting regarding Stevens' arrest in the Itasca ISD Library. It began in executive session before the public was allowed back in. The suspension announcement came soon after this.
On Monday, June 5, Itasca ISD released its statement on Facebook, which reads:
The Board of Trustees met today to take immediate action to suspend Superintendent Michael Stevens from his role as Superintendent of Schools. The Board took this action in response to the arrest on Thursday, June 1st of Mr. Stevens. We are working diligently to resolve this situation in accordance with our legal counsel.
The Board has appointed veteran Superintendent Keith Boles to serve as the Interim Superintendent starting tomorrow, June 6th. Mr. Boles previously served in the district in this capacity and is well known and respected by our community.
Last and more importantly, the Board is confident that based on all facts known to date, there are no connections between the allegations made against Mr. Stevens and students at Itasca ISD. Our students are safe and will continue to thrive and succeed with the dedicated attention and service brought by our outstanding parents and staff.
The agenda for an Itasca ISD board meeting on Tuesday, June 13, stated that the board will once again be discussing Stevens' employment status after consulting with a legal counsel about his pending criminal charges and investigation.
According to Harris County Constable Alan Rosen, Michael Stevens, 47, was planning to come to Houston and engage in sex acts with a teenage girl. Rosen said Stevens sent naked photos of himself to who he thought was a 15-year-old girl but was really an undercover investigator.
Stevens has been around children for most of his career. Investigators said he worked as a teacher, a coach and a principal in various North Texas districts including Mesquite ISD and Vernon ISD.
Stevens was arraigned in the Harris County Jail Friday morning. He’s charged with solicitation of a minor. He was arrested Thursday by Harris County constables in front of his office next to the High School.
Multiple law enforcement agencies conducted a six-month undercover operation posing as teenage girls on social media apps. They arrested 7 men.
All of the suspects were booked into the Harris County jail. Several of them posted a bond and were released. According to court records, Stevens posted a $50,000 bond on Tuesday, June 27.
"This is exactly why we are doing that - is to see if there are any other victims or people that would like to come forward that may involve any of the suspects that we have arrested," Rosen said.
Anyone with information about anything related to this sting is asked to call Rosen's office at 713-755-7571. Rosen said they want to find out if any other children were targeted.