SANDPOINT — A former Lake Pend Oreille High school teacher was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for having sex with a former student.
Judge Justin Julian bound Nichole Noel Thiel over to 1st District Court after the teen testified that he had intercourse with Thiel at a Sandpoint condominium complex.
The alleged rendezvous took place in December 2015, when the alleged victim was 16 and Thiel was 46. Thiel was the student’s culinary arts teacher at LPOHS at the time.
Thiel invoked her right to remain silent during the preliminary hearing in Bonner County Magistrate Court.
Judge Justin Julian found there was probable cause to sustain the charge based on the teen’s unrebutted testimony.
Thiel, a 48-year-old Coeur d’Alene resident, is scheduled to be arraigned in 1st District Court on April 3. She is charged with sexual assault of a teen between the ages of 16-17.
Thiel is free on her own recognizance while the case is pending.
The allegations didn’t surface until late last year, when the teen disclosed the incident to a LPOHS counselor. The disclosure touched off a Sandpoint Police investigation which culminated in the felony charge earlier this year.
Thiel was vice principal and athletic director of the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, but was placed on leave after Sandpoint Police confirmed to charter school officials that she was the subject of a criminal investigation.
The teen testified that they had been flirtatious and communicated with each other through a messaging application on social media.
“One thing led to another,” the teen testified of how the relationship eventually became physical.
The teen told the court he knew there would be trouble if their tryst was exposed.
“I knew what it would do if it came out,” he said.
Under cross-examination by Thiel’s defense counsel, Coeur d’Alene attorney Michael Palmer, the teen admitted that having sex with a teacher was an unchecked box on his personal bucket list.
“Yes, that’s a true statement,” the teen said.
Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.