FAYETTEVILLE -- A former coach and teacher with the Farmington School District has been served with an arrest warrant in connection with sexual assault incidents involving students in the Murfreesboro School District from 2009 to 2014 when he was employed as a coach.
According to Pike County Circuit Court records, a warrant for the arrest of Charles J. Hornbeck, 37, of 126 Woodcliff Road in Springdale, was served by email through his attorney, John Pickett of Texarkana, Texas. Hornbeck is scheduled for a plea and arraignment hearing at 9 a.m. Friday in Murfreesboro.
According to court records, Hornbeck is accused of five counts of sexual assault in the first degree and one count of sexual assault in the second degree.
According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant, on Aug. 22, 2019, the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division Child Abuse Hotline faxed a report to the Pike County Sheriff's Office regarding the sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl.
The warrant affidavit states there were incidents in which Hornbeck engaged in "deviate sexual activity" with three female students in the Murfreesboro School District when Hornbeck was a coach there. Hornbeck was also a youth director at a local church that some of the girls attended.
The girls ranged in age from 15 to 18 at the time the incidents are reported to have taken place between 2009 and 2014. Some of the incidents reportedly took place at the Murfreesboro Public School fieldhouse. Others reportedly happened at Hornbeck's home when he contacted the girls and asked them to babysit for him.
Pickett said Thursday that Hornbeck was "well-regarded and well-respected both personally and professionally" and he "vehemently denies the accusations against him."
"He is an innocent man being falsely accused," Pickett said. "We will vigorously defend him on this."
Pickett said Hornbeck will plead not guilty to the charges at his court appearance Friday morning.
Hornbeck was recently employed as a teacher and coach with the Farmington School District. His resignation was accepted by the School Board at the board's Aug. 27 meeting among a list of other resignations, hires and changes to contracts. Beau Thompson, athletic director for the district, confirmed Hornbeck resigned and referred other questions to Superintendent Jon Laffoon.
Laffoon said he was made aware of the charges against Hornbeck on Aug. 11, but he had no information other than what was included in the documents filed in Pike County Circuit Court. Laffoon said Hornbeck, who worked for the district for the last six years, resigned Aug. 14.
Laffoon said the School District received no information regarding similar allegations against Hornbeck while he was employed in Farmington.
"Farmington School District's top priority is student safety and we investigate all allegations of misconduct and act accordingly," Laffoon said in his statement.
Under Arkansas law, sexual assault in the first degree is a Class A felony punishable by imprisonment from six years to 30 years and a fine of up to $15,000. Sexual assault in the second degree is a Class B felony punishable by imprisonment from five to 20 years and a fine of up to $15,000.