James Lee Harper

James Lee Harper

UPDATE, 9 a.m.: Killeen ISD issued the following statement, but did not name the teacher:

Killeen ISD can confirm a former teacher is being investigated by police for indecency with a child, outside of Killeen ISD. Upon learning of the allegations, the educator was immediately put on leave and the district began an investigation of our own. The educator was a teacher at Harker Heights High School, but he was not a coach or involved with athletics for the district.

The charges against the educator do not involve a KISD student nor did any alleged criminal act occur on a KISD campus.

The employee has since been terminated and all information was turned over to police to assist in their investigation.

This case remains under investigation and the district is not able to comment further.

A Harker Heights teacher on paid administrative leave is accused of inappropriately touching a girl under the age of 17, Bell County Special Crimes Unit Lt. Michele Cianci said Thursday.

James Lee Harper, 36, of Harker Heights was in the Bell County Jail on Thursday after his arrest by the U.S. Marshals Service. He is charged with indecency with a child by sexual contact.

His bond for the charge, filed by the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, was set at $75,000.

The Harker Heights Independent School District’s human resources office confirmed Thursday that Harper was employed by the district as a high school teacher. Harper was listed as a high school teacher on the Killeen Independent School District’s website.

The district’s spokeswoman, Taina Maya, didn’t return a call by press time Thursday.

The case’s initial investigation began prior to Oct. 10 by the Copperas Cove Police Department. A child younger than 17 said Harper inappropriately touched her in both Bell and Coryell counties, an arrest affidavit obtained by the Telegram said.

Cianci, director of the Special Crimes Unit, was contacted Oct. 10 by the Copperas Cove Police Department and began an investigation.

The inappropriate behavior allegedly happened about Aug. 2 at Lake Belton while the victim spent time with another child. After returning to a Copperas Cove residence, the touching happened again and progressed further, the victim said, according to the affidavit.

A warrant for Harper’s arrest was issued Wednesday by Bell County Justice of the Peace David Barfield.

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