Harris County

Itasca ISD suspends superintendent after child sex sting arrest, bond conditions set

Former Itasca ISD Superintendent Keith Bowles named as interim superintendent beginning Tuesday, June 6

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The Itasca school board decided Monday to suspend superintendent Michael Keith Stevens after he was arrested and accused last week of online solicitation of a minor.

After going into executive session Monday morning the Itasca Board of Trustees voted to suspend Stevens, 47, with pay, while they said the TEA begins the termination process.

"We are working swiftly and diligently to resolve this situation in accordance with our legal counsel," said Itasca Board of Trustees President Brian Bassett.

Stevens was arrested last week in Itasca when Harris County Constables showed up at the administration building as part of a child sex sting.

Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen posted a video message on his Facebook page on Thursday afternoon announcing the sting and identifying Stevens as one of seven men arrested earlier in the day.

Harris County Pct. 1 Constable's Office
Alan Rosen, Harris County Constable Precinct 1, says his office arrested the Itasca ISD superintendent in a child sex sting on Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Rosen said Stevens sent lewd photos to undercover investigators posing as teenage girls and asked for nude videos and images. The constable said Stevens discussed taking a trip to Houston to meet up with who he thought was a 15-year-old girl for sex. The constable said some of Stevens's photos appeared to have been taken in his Hill County office.

The Itasca Board of Trustees said Monday that no students from their district were involved in the incident.

"The board is confident that based on all the facts known to date there are no connections between the allegations made against Mr. Stevens and students at Itasca ISD," said Bassett. "Our students are safe and will continue to thrive and succeed with the dedicated attention and service brought by our outstanding parents and staff."

NBC 5 News
The Itasca ISD Board of Trustees voted Monday, June 5, to suspend Superintendent Michael Stevens with pay following his arrest in a child sex sting on Thursday, June 1, 2023.

The Itasca school board also voted to reinstate former superintendent Keith Bowles as interim superintendent of the district beginning Tuesday, June 6.

Rosen said the seven men arrested Thursday are being charged with online solicitation of a minor. Harris County Assistant District Attorney James McKenney said Monday that Stevens was ordered held on a $100,000 bond and that part of his bond conditions requires he stay away from juveniles and that he is not allowed within 1000 feet of places where children would gather, such as schools and parks.

McKenney said investigators arrested Stevens after over a period of weeks he exchanged messages and videos with a person he believed to be a 15-year-old girl. McKenney said Stevens initiated contact with the girl and that he steered the conversation to include sex. Based on his statements, McKenney said, they had probable cause to believe he was looking to engage in sexual activities with a minor.

According to a post on the Itasca ISD website, Stevens was named superintendent in 2022 and just completed his first full year leading the district. Before moving to Hill County, Stevens worked in several North Texas school districts as an administrator and teacher/coach including the Elektra ISD, Vernon ISD, Palacios ISD and Mesquite ISD.

Mesquite ISD confirmed to NBC 5 that Stevens worked at the district from 2000 to 2006, most recently at Rutherford Elementary. The Mesquite school district said there was nothing to indicate Stevens left the district on anything other than good terms.

The investigations are ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office at 713-755-7571.

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