Crockett principal facing criminal charge

Mark Giles mug shot courtesy of Houston County Jail.
Mark Giles mug shot courtesy of Houston County Jail.

CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - CROCKETT, Texas (KTRE) - A Crockett school principal faces a felony charge following a Houston County Grand Jury's October indictment, which alleges he used school property for personal gain.

According to the indictment, filed on Oct. 27, Mark Glen Giles, 50, of Crockett, used a laptop computer to "obtain a benefit, intentionally or knowingly misuse government property or a thing of value belonging to the government" on or around July 17.

Giles, a principal of Crockett High School, has been on administrative leave since the summer, according to Freddie Kitchen, Crockett ISD secretary.

Houston County District Attorney Donna Gordon Kaspar said an internal audit showed Giles had used the computer to do work on his personal rental property.

Crockett ISD took the evidence to the sheriff's office instead of Crockett Police, to avoid any conflict-of-interest, as Chief Jimmy Fisher also works for Crockett ISD.

Giles booked in and out of the Houston County Jail on Nov. 9 on a $3,500 bond.

He is charged with abuse of official capacity, a state jail felony.

Kaspar says she was skeptical when investigators first approached her with the case.

"I mean everyone is aware if you have a work computer, check your email, I guess that can be considered an offense, but that's not a typical thing we go after," Kaspar said.

Kaspar says investigators pulled evidence from the computer showing Giles was using it for significant personal benefit.

"Apparently he has rental property and he's creating contracts and sending them out using that computer," she said.

News of the arrest quickly spread to parents like Kelly Charanza.

Her kids go to school in Crockett ISD.

She says the same rules for students should apply to the administrators that enforce them.

"I think its unfair," Charanza said. "He's setting a bad example.".

"When school kids go to labs they use it for personal use they get in trouble for it," she said. "For an authority figure to be doing that is wrong."

That's exactly why Kaspar says this is an important case to prosecute.

"Trying to bring up the next generation in the proper way you should probably do the right thing all the time," she said.

That's because she says you never know who's watching, including the law.

Copyright 2010 KTRE. All rights reserved.