Pocatello-Chubbuck employee charged with sexual abuse of a minor

Police have arrested a Pocatello-Chubbuck School District employee suspected of inappropriately touching a student.

Eric Popely

Eric Popely, a now-former employee at Highland High School, faces a charge of sexually abusing a minor under the age of 16, Nate Sunderland of East Idaho News reported Wednesday.

Police arrested Popely, 47, last Thursday. The district confirmed Popely’s prior employment but would not say whether he was under investigation by authorities.

The district released a statement Wednesday that one of its employees had been placed on administrative leave on Jan. 21, the result of a civil rights investigation. That employee is no longer employed with the district, and the issue has since been turned over to police, the statement reads.

“As a public school district, we accept the responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of our learners and staff in a positive learning environment,” Pocatello-Chubbuck Superintendent Dr. Douglas Howell said. “This is an obligation that we take very seriously, and one that prompts us to take swift, consistent action when necessary.”

Popely is being detained in the Bannock County Jail. He has a preliminary hearing for a child sexual abuse charge set for Feb. 1, according to Idaho’s iCourt Portal. His bond is set at $70,000.

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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