By Sharna Johnson
CNJ STAFF WRITER
The Clovis Christian School board reinstated Superintendent Steven Schultze Thursday after police cleared him of criminal wrongdoing in the arrest of a fugitive at his home.
Board President Ben Wright said Schultze returns to work effective immediately.
“With completion of a local law enforcement investigation we are fully confident that Mr. Schultze has not engaged in any wrongdoing,” Wright said.
“And based on his demonstrated performance, we continue to support his leadership of the school.”
Wright said Schultze was headed to a conference planned before the investigation and would not be back on campus until the second week in May.
Schultze was investigated by the Curry County Sheriff’s Office to determine if he knowingly harbored a fugitive, Jerry Klinker, at his home.
Klinker, 40, was arrested April 8 by deputies acting on information from the U.S. Marshal’s Service. He was living with Schultze at 598 Curry Road L.
The next day, investigators executed a search warrant at the school and seized Schultze’s office computer. Hours later, Schultze was placed on paid administrative leave.
Wright said the board held a townhall meeting with parents and staff when the decision was made to place Schultze on leave. He said the board has continued to communicate with parents about the issue.
Wright said he felt parents and staff will support Schultze’s reinstatement.
“We’ll be meeting with them some more, but the board doesn’t anticipate any problems,” he said.
According to the warrant, Schultze told investigators he was aware Klinker was being investigated for child molestation.
But Schultze told investigators he had no knowledge there was an arrest warrant for Klinker, records show, and said he did not know Klinker was being sought by law enforcement.
Klinker was wanted in Missouri on charges of raping a child and receiving stolen property.
Records show Schultze told investigators he had been communicating with the alleged victim’s mother via e-mail.
Klinker’s two young children, also living in the home with Klinker and Schultze, were taken into custody by Children Youth and Family officials.
School officials previously said one of Klinker’s children was a student at the school.
Efforts to reach Schultze were unsuccessful Wednesday and Thursday.
Clovis Christian School was opened in 1994 and has about 250 students. It recently expanded to add a second campus for elementary students.
Schultze was hired last fall to replace Steve Medeiros, who moved to Arizona to enter into ministry.