By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2021

WEBB CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former Webb City Junior High School teacher and coach has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in a child molestation case.

Nicholas A. Popejoy, 29, of Arma, Kansas, pleaded guilty Monday to third-degree child molestation. A count of sexual contact with a student was dismissed.

Popejoy originally was charged with first-degree statutory sodomy. He will be sentenced March 1.

Popejoy was a science and math teacher, freshman boys basketball coach and coed track coach at Webb City Junior High School before he was fired in November 2019, The Joplin Globe reported.

Court records indicate Popejoy had inappropriately touched a male student under the age of 14 on school grounds.

The matter was reported to school administrators the same day, and police were contacted.

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