By Phillip Williams
A former Harmony ISD teacher who is past president of the school’s band booster club has been indicted and arrested on felony charges that she stole $27,000 from the club over a three-year period, the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
Accompanied by her attorney, Kristen Denson, 45, of Gilmer, turned herself in Monday (Dec. 23) to the sheriff’s office in Gilmer, and was released that day on bonds totaling $30,000, said sheriff’s Chief Deputy David Hazel. They included $10,000 on a charge of misapplication of fiduciary property, a charge related to her having been club president, and $20,000 on a charge of theft by public servant, a charge related to her position as a teacher, authorities said.
Denson had become a teacher at the rural Union Hill School in Upshur County, where her husband John Denson is high school principal, and was placed on administrative leave two or three months ago, Union Hill ISD board president James Parker confirmed Friday.
Hazel said Harmony ISD officials contacted the sheriff’s office in August “to make a report regarding missing funds from the band booster account.” He said school personnel “discovered some anomalies,” and Sheriff Larry Webb’s office opened an investigation.
The probe by detectives determined Denson had taken $27,000 from the booster club account over a period ending last August, and the fndings were forwarded to District Attorney Billy Byrd’s office, said Hazel. The Upshur County Grand Jury subsequently indicted Denson Dec. 19, and she was booked into the county jail on warrants, authorities said.