A former principal who is now personnel director for schools in Alabama's most populous county was arrested Thursday on charges of having sex with students in two counties.

Jefferson County schools personnel director Brett William Kirkham, 39, was arrested in Tuscaloosa County on charges of being a school employee and having sex with a student younger than 19, authorities said. He also faces related obscenity charges in the county.

In Jefferson County, where Birmingham is the county seat, officials said Kirkham was charged with having sex with a student. Prosecutor Bill Veitch said Kirkham allegedly had a relationship for at least five years with a male who is no longer in school, and there could be additional victims.

"There's a lot of people out there who know a lot," he said. "This has affected a lot of people."

Kirkham has been on paid leave from his job as personnel director since earlier this month. Kirkham previously was a teacher and principal in Hueytown, and he was recently named as a finalist for the superintendent's job in his native Decatur, but the position was offered to another person.

Court records were not immediately available to show whether Kirkham had a lawyer in either county to speak on his behalf.

An investigation began June 15 after a young man came forward with information, authorities said. Kirkham was placed on paid administrative leave the same day.