SILOAM SPRINGS -- A Siloam Springs School District employee was arrested Thursday in connection with first-degree sexual assault, according to the Benton County Jail website.
Ethan Wells, 29, who is listed as a choir teacher at Siloam Springs Middle School, remained in the Benton County Jail on Friday with no bond set.
Arkansas code says a person commits first-degree sexual assault when he engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a minor, and the person is in a position of trust such as a teacher or police officer. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.
Prosecutors have not filed a formal charge. Details on the case were not available Friday.
Siloam Springs Superintendent Jody Wiggins released a statement Friday saying the district received information alleging inappropriate activity by a secondary level teacher during the 2021-22 school year.
Wiggins did not name the teacher in the statement. He did say the district notified local law enforcement and filed a report with the Department of Human Services hotline.
Following the district's investigation, the teacher was placed on administrative leave Monday and notified the superintendent is recommending immediate termination of his contract, Wiggins said in the statement.
Wiggins also said the teacher is entitled to seek a hearing before the School Board under Arkansas law. The board may either accept or reject the recommendation of termination or modify the terms and length of suspension, Wiggins said.
Wells is earning $53,213 in his teaching position this school year, according to district documents. He was named the Arkansas Choral Directors Association Region 6 Junior High Distinguished Director in 2021.