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Chaparral High School employee accused of sexually abusing special needs student

Nicholas Claus was arrested by Scottsdale police Thursday and is facing six charges.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A Scottsdale Unified School District employee has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a student.

Nicholas Claus was arrested Thursday afternoon at Chaparral High School by the Scottsdale Police Department. 

According to a court commissioner, Claus is facing six charges, including two counts of child abuse with intent, two counts of sexual abuse, and two counts of public sexual indecency involving contact.

In a letter sent to Chaparral High School parents, Principal Todd Dreifort said the charges are related to an incident that allegedly occurred Thursday morning involving Claus and a Chaparral special needs student. 

“That the trust of one of our most vulnerable students appears to have been violated is reprehensible. There is no indication at this time that any other students or staff were involved,” Dreifort said in the letter. 

A spokesperson for Scottsdale Unified told 12 News that Claus is employed at Chaparral High School as an instructional support paraeducator. 

The spokesperson said Claus was hired by the district in August 2019 and passed all his background checks before he was hired. Claus is currently on paid administrative leave while the school continues its own investigation in conjunction with Scottsdale police, the spokesperson said. 

Claus appeared before a Maricopa County commissioner Friday morning for his initial appearance. During the proceeding, the commissioner set a $25,000 secured appearance bond for Claus. 

If Claus posts that bond, his release conditions state that he cannot work at any school, or have any contact with any minors, special needs children or any vulnerable adult.

“You might serve as a Santa Claus in some event, that is not being permitted,” Commissioner David Syer said.

This is a developing story 12 News will continue to update as we learn more information.

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