The superintendent of a small Texas school district was among seven people busted in an underage sex sting operation this week in Harris County.
Authorities say 47-year-old Michael Stephens, superintendent of Itasca ISD, wanted to come to Houston and engage in sexual acts with someone who he thought was a 15-year-old girl. The person he was communicating with through a social media app was actually an undercover police officer with the Precinct 1 constable’s office.
Investigators also say Stephens requested that the teen send him provocative photos, and sent lewd photos of himself. Constable Alan Rosen said Stephens sent some of the photos from what appeared to be his office at work.
Stephens was arrested and charged for online solicitation of a minor.
“You must make it a priority to know what your children are doing online,” Constable Alan Rosen said. “As you can see by this sting operation, there are dangerous predators out there grooming our children and can cause great harm.”
Itasca is a small town between Fort Worth and Waco, along Interstate 35. Stephens was a principal and assistant principal in various districts around the state. During his initial appearance in court on Friday, he was removed from the courtroom.
Others arrested were between 22-41 years old. They had been attempting to meet girls they thought were between ages 14-16.
In a statement, Itasca ISD acknowledged the arrest and said the Board of Trustees will convene to review the matter and take appropriate action.