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Texas superintendent charged with online solicitation of a minor suspended by district

Michael Stevens, 47, is the superintendent of the Itasca ISD. A meeting Monday morning appointed an interim superintendent as Stevens is expected to appear in court.

HOUSTON — A North Texas superintendent is due in a Harris County courtroom Monday after being charged with online solicitation of a minor.

Michael Stevens, 47, is currently in the Harris County Jail. Stevens was arrested Thursday as part of a sting operation involving the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office. 

Stevens allegedly messaged a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl, but who was actually an undercover investigator. Constable Alan Rosen says Stevens sent inappropriate photos and asked for images and videos in return.

Stevens works for Itasca ISD. In a meeting Monday morning, the district suspended Stevens with pay from his role. The Itasca Board for Trustees also appointed Keith Boles as interim superintendent beginning Tuesday.

Stevens' bond was set at $100,000.

What we've learned about Michael Stevens' background

According to Harris County Constable Alan Rosen, Stevens was a teacher, coach, principal, and assistant principal in various districts located in North Texas and the Gulf Coast.

"He doesn’t have any children, but he’s been around children his whole career," Rosen said.

Stevens was hired as Itasca ISD superintendent in March 2022 after holding the same position with Channing ISD, according to the district's website.

"The district has a great reputation and my wife and I are looking forward to getting to know everyone and becoming part of the community," Stevens said in a statement when he was hired.

He'd also been a teacher and coach in Mesquite ISD, Palacios ISD and Vernon ISD. He later became assistant principal in Vernon ISD, then secondary principal in Electra ISD.

Stevens is married to a counselor with Channing ISD, according to the Itasca ISD website.

Itasca ISD statement shortly after arrest:

"On June 1, 2023, the District was contacted by a detective with the Harris County Sherriff’s Department. According to the detective, Superintendent Michael Stevens was taken into custody. Until more facts are confirmed, no further information can be shared. The Board of Trustees will be convening a meeting to review this matter and take appropriate action."

Itasca ISD school board members set a special meeting for June 5 at 7 a.m.

Other undercover sex sting arrests

Stevens was among seven people arrested in the sex sting, according to Rosen.

Investigators posted as teens to lure the predators into their trap.

"These predators were online surfing and looking for children," Rosen said.

"You must make it a priority to know what your children are doing online," Rosen said. "As you can see by this sting operation, there are dangerous predators out there grooming our children and can cause great harm."

The names of the other six suspects hadn't been released as of Friday, June 2, but here's what we know about them.

  • A 41-year-old man was arrested and charged with online solicitation of a minor after he drove from Waco to Harris County. Officers said they found more than 40 pairs of women's underwear in his possession. 
  • Rosen said a FedEx worker was chatting with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl and showed up at an undercover location with a pack of condoms.
  • A 23-year-old man showed up to meet a "14-year-old girl" and tried to get away when officers arrested him.
  • Another man believed he was meeting up with a 16-year-old to have sex. He showed up at an undisclosed location with condoms and was arrested. He worked as a dishwasher and a cook at a coffee shop.
  • A 26-year-old unemployed man was arrested after showing up at a place where he thought he was going to have sex with a 15-year-old girl.
  • Another man showed up at the undercover location expecting to engage in sex acts with a 14-year-old girl. He was arrested with condoms in his pocket.

All of the suspects were booked into the Harris County Jail. Several of them posted bonds and were released.

Other alleged victims?

"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.

The sting was part of an Internet Crimes Against Children initiative. Several law enforcement agencies assisted in the operation:

  • Humble Police Department
  • Humble ISD
  • Houston Police Department
  • Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office
  • Harris County Sheriff's Office
  • Harris County District Attorney's Office
  • Texas City Police Department
  • Spring ISD Police Department/Emergency Management and School Safety
  • Montgomery County Precinct 2 Constable
  • Missouri City Police Department
  • FBI - Houston
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Roman Forest Police Department
  • Conroe Police Department
  • Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office
  • Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office

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