State police detectives arrested Popa today. Kalkaska County Sheriff Dave Israel said he placed Popa on unpaid suspension and he'll conduct an internal investigation parallel with the court proceedings.
Popa worked 12 years in the department in various positions, from the jail, to patrol and most recently as a transport officer responsible for serving warrants, driving to court and transporting prisoners.
Israel said he didn't hear about the 2006 incident until the state police investigation began. He said Popa never faced similar accusations during his tenure with the department.
"He's innocent until he's proven guilty," Israel said. "He's got the same rights that any person should have."
John Rogers serves as Kalkaska Public Schools' board of education president. He said board members haven't determined what action, if any, they will take in regards to Popa, who served on the board since 2012.
"We will follow whatever actions we need to take according to statute," he said.
Both Rogers and Sandy stressed that they considered it important to find out how the case shakes out in court. They didn't want to see a community member like Popa fall victim to a false accusation.
"I think it's important that until proven guilty that this is just a charge," Sandy said.
A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Thursday in 87th District Court. Popa will also appear June 26 in court for a preliminary examination. He remains out of Ostego County's jail on a $20,000 personal recognizance bond.