Former Shelley principal sentenced for grand theft

Former Shelley High School principal Eric Lords has been sentenced for stealing thousands of dollars from the school.

Eric Lords

Lords, 49, will spend 50 days in jail, five years on probation and serve 300 hours of community service for the crime, District Judge Darren Simpson announced during a Zoom sentencing Monday.

Simpson also gave Lords an underlying three to 10-year prison sentence to be served if he does not successfully complete the probation.

“I just want to apologize to the court, the Shelley School District, the Shelley community and basically everyone in East Idaho who I’ve let down,” Lords said.

Lords abruptly resigned as principal in 2018 and later admitted to using the school’s credit card to make a range of personal purchases totaling over $3,700.

In June, the Idaho Professional Standards Commission suspended Lords’ administrative certificate. The commission allowed Lords to keep his Idaho teaching certificate after he agreed to repay the money.

Lords does not have a teaching or administrative assignment for 2020-21, according to records reviewed by EdNews, though his administrative license is now valid in Idaho.

Lords has since fully repaid the money, his attorney, James Archibald, told Simpson last month.

Lords pleaded guilty to a felony grand theft charge as part of a non-binding agreement in which Archibald and a Bingham County prosecutor recommended probation for Lords at sentencing.

Last month, Simpson ordered another former Shelley High School employee, Cristy Jo Burton, to serve 60 days in jail and pay back $10,891.46 that she stole from the district in 2018, court records show.

Burton, who worked with Lords at Shelley High, faced four counts of grand theft after police discovered checks written to her personal account.

Burton agreed to plead guilty to two felony grand theft charges. In exchange, prosecutors dropped two other counts of the same charge and recommended probation.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow and the Idaho Press Club's 2019 print reporter of the year. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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