McNary counselor and former girls tennis coach charged with sexually abusing minor in Polk County

A McNary High School counselor has been charged with sexually abusing a minor for nearly two years.

Prosecutors charged Todd A. Bobeda, 46 of Dallas, on Wednesday in Polk County Circuit Court with four counts of third-degree sexual abuse, two counts of first-degree official misconduct and harassment, according to court documents.

The charges allege that Bobeda subjected a person under 18 to sexual contact repeatedly between December 2019 and July 2021 and failed to perform his duties as a public servant. Each charge is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

He is also accused of failing to report child abuse in April 2019 with the intent to harm the same victim, court records showed.

Bobeda has been on paid administrative leave from his McNary counseling job since Aug. 5, 2021, according to Aaron Harada, Salem-Keizer School District spokesman.

At the time of the conduct for which he is charged, he was counselor at McNary and South Salem High Schools. He was also the head girls tennis coach at McNary during that period.

The school district became aware of an investigation into Bobeda’s conduct in August 2021 and learned of his charges on Thursday, Harada said.

The district has not sent any message to students or employees about the incidents, Harada said.

Polk County Circuit Court Judge Norman Hill on Wednesday signed a warrant for Bobeda’s arrest.

Sheriff Mark Garton said in an email Friday that Bobeda had not been arrested “as of yet.”

Bobeda told the Statesman Journal in 2014 that he grew up a troubled teen on a small family farm outside of Dallas. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2003 with a master’s degree in school counseling and worked as a counselor at two middle schools in Georgia.

Bobeda moved back to Oregon and was hired by the Salem-Keizer School District in 2004. He taught two years in a special education program at McNary before starting as a counselor at South, which he continued until 2020, according to Harada.

Bobeda has also previously coached soccer and tennis at South. He was the head tennis coach at McNary between 2020 and 2021. 

He most recently worked as a counselor at McNary, where he began in 2020.

Bobeda also served 25 years in the military and retired in April 2020. He served one weekend per month for 16 years as a warrant officer with the Oregon National Guard while also teaching suicide and depression awareness for soldiers, according to reporting from Keizertimes.

In 2020, he was a finalist for the Oregon School Counselor of the Year.

On Sept. 16, 2021, the state DHS Office of Training, Investigations and Safety started investigating “concerns related to Todd Bobeda’s inappropriate behavior towards students,” according to agency spokesman Jake Sunderland.

The investigation was “founded for threat of harm,” which means putting a child at a high risk of being abused, Sunderland said.

He said the department reported the information to police as required by law.

Bobeda is also currently under investigation by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, the state’s teacher licensing body. 

That investigation was opened Aug. 3, 2021, according to Cristina Edgar, the commission’s director of professional practices.

Edgar said by law she could not disclose who reported Bobeda to the agency or the nature of the report that triggered their investigation. 

Bobeda has an active school counselor license expiring Jan. 2, 2025, and has not been sanctioned or disciplined by the commission previously.

Salem Reporter Managing Editor Rachel Alexander contributed reporting.