Disobeying bond conditions results in $1 million cash bail for former Northwest Arkansas school administrator Oesterle

Judge finds Oesterle willfully disobeyed court’s orders

Mark Edward Oesterle

BENTONVILLE -- Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren revoked the bond for a Level 3 sex offender and former school administrator after he was found with a cellphone with two social media accounts on it.

Mark Oesterle, 50, of Elm Springs is charged with 24 counts of failure to comply with sex offender registration and reporting requirements. The charges stem from Oesterle's failure to register social media accounts. He's accused of failing to report the accounts to the Benton County Sheriff's Office. He previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Oesterle was arrested in June and later released on $575,000 bond Aug. 8 from the Benton County Jail. Karren ordered Oesterle not to access any social media accounts as a condition of the bond.

Prosecutors filed a motion to revoke Oesterle's bond after a probation officer found him with the smartphone.

Mike Diehl, Oesterle's probation officer, said he was monitoring Oesterle's GPS ankle monitor and found Oesterle was frequently visiting businesses with free wireless internet. Diehl said he suspected Oesterle was using an unregistered cellphone.

Diehl said he followed Oesterle on Aug. 11 and found him at Starbucks in Target in Rogers. The probation officer said Oesterle was holding a smartphone while his flip phone, which can't access the internet, was on the table.

Oesterle attempted to hide the smartphone in his mother's purse and claimed the device was his mother's, Diehl said. He said Oesterle's mother denied the phone was hers.

Snapchat was downloaded on the cellphone, according to court documents.

"It was pretty willful handing your phone to your mother and claiming it was hers," said Brynna Barnica, deputy prosecutor.

Barnica said Oesterle is clearly violating the court's order and she had little confidence Oesterle will ever follow the court's orders. Barnica recommended Oesterle's bond be revoked and then set at $1 million.

Tom Marks, Oesterle's attorney, said he doesn't understand if his client was willfully disobeying Karren's orders or simply trying to communicate with people. Marks requested Oesterle remain free on bond in order to take care of medical procedures and continue to take care of his mother.

Marks said his client could be placed on house arrest until the case is resolved.

Karren found Oesterle willfully disobeyed and failed to comply with the court's orders. He revoked Oesterle's bond and set a new bond at $1 million cash-only.

Oesterle was taken into custody and transported to the Benton County Jail.

Karren ordered Oesterle not to access the internet, but Oesterle may communicate with his attorney and family members through the jail's mail system.

Oesterle was assistant principal at Springdale's Har-Ber High School in 2014-15 and and assistant principal at Springdale's Tyson School of Innovation in 2015-16. The Fayetteville School District hired him in 2016 as its director of federal programs and English language learner programs; he was promoted to director of secondary education in 2017 and stayed in that position until he resigned in March 2019.

Oesterle was accused of touching the breasts of teen girls in 2015 during his time as an assistant principal in Springdale, according to court documents. The allegations didn't become public until 2019.

He pleaded guilty in 2021 to one count of second-degree sexual assault involving three girls. He was sentenced to 72 months of probation and required to register as a sex offender.

Oesterle is also facing charges in Washington County. He's charged with being a registered sex offender on a school campus. He's free on that charge on $100,000 bond.

Oesterle is accused of knowingly entering Har-Ber High School's campus in April, according to court documents. He is also accused of being on the campus of Central Junior High School in Springdale on Feb. 9 and on the Har-Ber campus Feb. 12, according to court documents. Investigators obtained video from both schools showing Oesterle in school buildings without an escort, according to court documents.