Police in small-town Kansas have arrested a middle school teacher on allegations that he asked a 14-year-old boy for sex.
The teacher, Robert B. Bulk is — or was, until his arrest — the co-chair of the Democratic Party in Atchison County. He is also the president of the local teachers union (and a member of the statewide National Education Association’s board of directors).
Bulk, 39, was arrested on Friday afternoon, reports Topeka CBS affiliate WIBW-TV.
The official charges against the local Democratic bigwig — and union chief — are electronic solicitation of a child and sexual exploitation of a child.
Police say they also caught Bulk with an unspecified amount of marijuana and some drug paraphernalia. Thus, the teacher faces an additional pair of misdemeanors.
Details of the sex-related charges are slim. In Kansas, the charge of child solicitation which Bulk faces can involve interaction by Internet, telephone or any electronic means. Also, prosecutors must prove that Bulk actually believed the child to be a child.
Sexual exploitation of a child in Kansas involves paying money for imagery of a child engaged in a sex act.
Police say Bulk committed his crimes between March and June.
Prior to his arrest, Bulk had taught in the Atchison Unified School District for 17 years. He has taught computer courses at the middle school.
Prior to his teaching position at the middle school, Bulk taught fourth grade and fifth grade at Atchison Elementary School, reports Kansas City CBS affiliate KCTV.
Bulk has served as the Atchison County Democratic Party co-chair since 2014.
Leaders of the Kansas Democratic Party asked Bulk to resign his chairmanship without delay, according a statement obtained by the St. Joseph News-Press, a newspaper out of nearby St. Joseph, Mo.
Bulk did, in fact, step down, notes WIBW.
The local school district superintendent, Susan Myers, said Bulk has been placed on leave.
“Even though school is not in session for students and teachers, we have immediately followed our policies and procedures and placed Mr. Bulk on administrative leave pending the resolution of the case and further board action,” Myers said, according to the News-Press.
Myers does not appear to have specified whether the leave is paid or unpaid. Typically, such administrative leave is paid.
During a Monday court appearance, Bulk told a judge that he plans to hire his own attorney. As of that court appearance, he had languished in jail pending the posting of a $100,000 bond.
The Atchison County Attorney says its investigation of Bulk continues. Additional charges may be forthcoming, prosecutors say.