LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former principal of Saugus High School pleaded not guilty today through his attorney to one felony count each of perjury and conflict of interest involving a student exchange program he helped set up with a school in China.
William Bolde, 65, was charged Dec. 9 following an investigation by the Public Integrity Unit of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office's Bureau of Investigation.
Bolde helped set up a student exchange program with a high school in Gaoxin, China, along with creating a nonprofit organization to administer the program, according to the District Attorney's Office, which alleges that he had a conflict of interest because he was still principal at the high school while he had an employment agreement with the nonprofit group.
He is also accused of lying on disclosure forms.
``Those who break the law by putting their own best interest before the people they are supposed to serve will be held accountable for their actions,'' District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement last month announcing the charges.
Bolde's attorney, David Diamond, called his client ``the epitome of class and commitment to the community'' and said he has received more than 100 letters of support for Bolde -- more than he has received for any other client.
Bolde -- who spent 14 years as the principal at Saugus High School -- surrendered Dec. 11 at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Santa Clarita Valley station and was subsequently released, the Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported.
A date is scheduled to be set Feb. 17 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse for a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to allow the case against Bolde to proceed to trial.