Otsego school board member charged

By: 
Daniel Pepper (Staff Writer)

An Otsego school board member is awaiting arraignment on charges of aggravated stalking.

Stephen E. Podewell, 51, was arrested March 7 and has an arraignment scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, according to court records.

He posted a $5,000 bond and was allowed to leave the state, according to court records. The Allegan County District Court lists Podewell’s address as in Palos Heights, Ill.

Court records say the offense happened March 6.

Podewell did not return a call for comment by press time.

District superintendent Jeffery Haase said the district wasn’t aware of any addresses for Podewell other than his residence on B Avenue in the Otsego district. State law requires school board members to live in the district in which they serve.

“The school board is aware of the charges and know it is a serious situation,” Haase said. “They felt it was appropriate at this time to not act and to let this be handled by the court system.

“Based on the results of that, then they would make a decision.”

Haase said Podewell was still a board member; Podewell did not attend the school board meeting Monday, March 13.

State law also prohibits individuals from serving on a school board if they have been convicted of a felony. Aggravated stalking is a felony under state law.

Editor Ryan Lewis contributed to this article.

Contact Dan Pepper at dpepper@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-9571.

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