A former Copperas Cove Independent School District teacher and coach entered a plea of guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year old girl.

Shawn Westley Noordam, 30, pleaded guilty to both the assault charge and an additional charge of improper student/teacher relationship in 52nd Judicial District Judge Trent Farrell’s court in Gatesville on May 16.

Farrell postponed Noordam’s sentencing to complete a presentence investigation, resetting Noordam’s sentencing for June 27.

A news release from the Copperas Cove Police Department in summer 2015 stated Noordam, a teacher at S.C. Lee Junior High School, was arrested on a charge of improper student/teacher relationship and aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Noordam was released on a bond of $50,000 on June 26 last year.

Cove police said the case was reported to them May 31, 2015.

Coryell County District Attorney Dusty Boyd said the victim in this case did not cooperate with the investigation.

Boyd’s office said it did not offer Noordam a plea bargain in exchange for his guilty plea.

Cove ISD officials said Noordam was placed on administrative leave when the allegations surfaced.

Although inappropriate teacher-student relationships are not as common as the public may suspect, they do occur.

When they do, the news media cover the incident, not only as news, but also as a public service, giving the incident immediate attention. Such coverage inadvertently leads the public into believing such relationships occur more frequently than they do.

When one considers that almost everyone goes to school, either public or private, the instances of inappropriate student/teacher relationship are indeed rare.

Most if not all school districts have imposed strict rules regarding physical and social interaction between educators and students, to include the standard pat on the back or hugging. Social media interactions are strictly forbidden. States including Texas have enacted laws addressing this issue and violation of these laws results in immediate termination and possible criminal prosecution.

None of these rules, ordinances or laws are unknown to educators. They are continually stressed during workshops and seminars, as well as by written directives. Any educator who enters into a relationship with a student does so knowingly and intentionally. For that reason, the harshest remedies should apply.

Mike Heintzelman retires

When I moved to Copperas Cove in 1983, Mike Heintzelman had already been on the job with the Cove police department for over two years.

Heintzelman worked his way up the chain with honorable service to the community, from patrolman to the esteemed position of deputy chief of police.

After serving the people of Copperas Cove and Coryell County for more than 34 years, Heintzelman has chosen to retire from public service to pursue other endeavors, possibly to enjoy some well-deserved personal and family time.

I’m sure we can all agree he has earned it. We wish Heintzelman godspeed and good luck in all his future endeavors.

Assaults

There are those among us who continue to believe disagreements must be settled with physical force rather than intelligent dialogue.

I think I hit on the problem: Intelligence, or rather the lack of it, is a contributor to the high rate of assaults, which continue to plague our community. Those who batter family members haven’t the mental capacity to settle disputes any other way. Now all we need to do is smarten them up.

Fourteen assaults were reported this week. That averages to over two per day. Half of these, or one each day were assaults involving family members. One was a sexual assault and one was an assault on a public servant.

  • A sexual assault was reported May 16.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported May 17 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • An assault by contact was reported May 17 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported May 17 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence and an assault by contact/family violence were reported May 17 in the 2500 block of Live Oak Drive.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported May 17 in the 500 block of Sunset Lane.
  • An assault on a public servant and assault by contact were reported May 19 in the 900 block of South 25th Street. This is a felony offense, punishable as such.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported May 21 in the 1200 block of West Avenue B.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported May 22 in the 800 block of Bond Street.
  • An assault by contact/family violence was reported May 22 in the 800 block of Michelle Drive.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported May 22 in the 2000 block of Dennis Street.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported May 22 in the 500 block of Joe Morse Drive.

Theft/burglary

Nineteen thefts were reported this week. In this crime category, Cove rivals more populated Central Texas cities. While we’re not a den of thieves, we certainly have our share of thieves living among us.

  • A theft of a radio and laptop computer was reported May 16 in the 100 block of East Blancas Drive.
  • The theft of a laptop from a vehicle was reported May 16 in the 1100 block of Hawk Trail.
  • The theft of a Honda Accord was reported May 16 in the 1100 block of Hawk Trail.
  • The theft of currency was reported May 16 in the 800 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of a rifle and ammunition was reported May 18 in the 900 block of Risen Star Lane.
  • The theft of an Xbox from a residence was reported May 18 in the 600 block of Sunset Lane.
  • The theft of DVDs was reported May 19 at a business in the 2900 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of a rifle and scope was reported May 19 in the 1900 block of Miles Street.
  • The theft of clothing items was reported May 19 at a retailer in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft off a bicycle was reported May 19 in the 900 block of Courtney Lane.
  • The theft of a lawn ornament was reported May 19 in the 800 block of Karen Street.
  • A theft was reported May 21 in the 700 block of Creek Street.
  • A theft was reported May 21 in the 1100 block of Rhonda Lee Street.
  • A theft was reported May 21 in the 400 block of Summers Road.
  • A theft of currency was reported May 22 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft off a wallet and contents was reported May 22 in the 2900 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of tires and linens was reported May 22 in the 1800 block of North Main Street.
  • The theft of a chainsaw and weed eater was reported May 22 in the 2700 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of a stop sign was reported May 22 at the intersection of Little Street and Lynn Lane.
  • The theft of electronics and jewelry was reported May 22 in the 2200 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.

Other crimes

  • Criminal mischief was reported May 16 in the 600 block of Margaret Lee Street.
  • Criminal mischief was reported May 16 in the 2200 block of Scott Drive.
  • Criminal mischief was reported May 19 in the 900 block of South 15th Street.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported May 16 in the 1100 block of South 31st Street.
  • Evading arrest/detention was reported May 16. An arrest was made.
  • Credit card abuse was reported May 18 in the 2400 block of Meadow Lane.
  • Debit card abuse was reported May 18 in the 600 block of North 23rd Street.
  • Criminal trespass was reported May 19 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • A second incident of criminal trespass was reported May 19 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported May 19 in the 200 block of Constitution Drive.
  • Criminal mischief was reported May 19 in the 1100 block of West Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Criminal mischief was reported May 19 in the 100 block of Spur Drive.
  • Driving while intoxicated was reported May 21 in the 2800 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • Criminal mischief was reported May 21 in the 900 block of South 19th Street.
  • Possession of alcohol by a minor was reported May 22 in the 2200 block of Lindsey Drive.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported May 22 in the 300 block of West Blancas Drive.

John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.​

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