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Apple, Yarger arraigned

Former superintendent held on $100,000 bail for theft charges from JCSD

Edward Apple (left); Keith Yarger

Affidavit of Probable Cause: Keith Yarger

Affidavit of Probable Cause: Edward Apple

MIFFLINTOWN — Former Juniata County School District superintendent Keith Yarger and Edward Apple, who most recently served as director of secondary education and formerly was principal of Juniata High School, were arrested Monday for multiple felony charges of theft from the Juniata County School District.

According to the police affidavit, Yarger, 49, of Mesa, Ariz., and formerly of Port Royal, was charged for numerous instances of using a school district credit card to pay for items ranging from car repairs to hotel rooms and college courses, and for taking school district property. He was charged with four third-degree felonies, including theft by unlawful taking — movable property, theft by deception, other reason access device unauthorized by issuer, conspiracy — theft by unlawful taking and criminal attempt — theft by unlawful taking. He was also charged with one misdemeanor, theft by deception. According to court documents, the charges stem from incidents that occurred Dec. 12, 2016.

Charges for Apple, 50, of Richfield, were related to taking a number of items from school property and using them for personal use. He faces three third-degree felonies, including theft by unlawful taking — movable property, receiving stolen property and conspiracy — theft by unlawful taking. According to court documents, his charges stem from incidents that occurred in January 2019.

According to court documents, Apple posted $30,000 unsecured bail. Yarger is in police custody, held at the Mifflin County Correctional Facility, unable to post $100,000 bail.

The charges follow a four-month long investigation that began after Yarger’s sudden resignation from his position as Juniata County School District superintendent. Details in Yarger’s separation agreement specify that he remained on payroll nearly two months after his resignation.

One month after Yarger’s resignation, during an administrative realignment, Apple’s position as director of secondary education was eliminated. He was not reassigned to another position because he was under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police, but still remains on payroll.

At that time, school district officials were tight-lipped when it came to sharing information about the resignation and the police investigation.

Interim Superintendent Shawn Kovac, who also serves as the executive director of Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11, stated Monday that he was unable to comment regarding the ongoing litigation as per advice from counsel.

“It was a very long investigation. I know state police were very thorough,” said Kovac, who added the information that resulted from the investigation would be discussed with the district’s solicitor and the board of directors.

Christie Holderman, who currently serves as assistant superintendent, will take over as interim superintendent Friday.

The district has had some difficulty finding a candidate to fill the role of superintendent.

In a split vote, the board of directors on Thursday gave permission for TIU 11 to move forward with a new superintendent search — the decision came after Lancaster County native Troy Price accepted the position in May, but then withdrew his name days later, stating he wanted to take a position closer to home. This occurred shortly after it was discovered that Price had filed for bankruptcy.

Kovac said the superintendent search is taking so long because of concerns about selecting a candidate who can serve as “an exemplary example for the county and that can lead this district out of this crisis it is in.”

Scanned copies of the affidavits of probable cause, as provided by Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline Leister’s office, are in PDF form accompanying this story.

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