Fayetteville Schools Athletics Director Arrested

Fayetteville Schools Athletics Director Arrested

FAYETTEVILLE, AR-- Barry Gebhart faces a charge of internet stalking of a child. He's been put on administrative leave from the school.
BENTON COUNTY -- Barry Gebhart, 50, director of athletics for Fayetteville Public Schools was arrested by Benton County deputies Tuesday night on a charge of internet stalking of a child.

At a bond hearing on Wednesday, Gebhart was given a $75,000 bond and told to have no unsupervised contact with minors.  He was also instructed to stay off the internet and had to turn in his computer and hard drive to investigators. 

Court documents show Gebhart went by the name "Big Dog" on a social media app called Whisper.  He texted with a detective who was posing as a 14-year-old girl during the investigation, sending explicit pictures of himself and arranging to meet, according to an affidavit.

He was arrested after showing up to the mall for an arranged meeting on October 22nd. 

"Mr. Gebhart obviously thought he was going to meet a 14 year old girl that he had been talking to through this app," says Deputy Keshia Guyll, Public Information Officer with the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

According to court documents, Gebhart admitted to receiving photos and texts from other underage girls and a senior at Fayetteville High School.  He told police he stopped the conversation when he found out she went to school there.

"He's innocent until proven guilty," Guyll says. "I'm sure a lot of things will come out during his arraignment dates and court dates, and you know if he's found guilty, hopefully the sheriff's office was able to mitigate a situation going even worse."

Gebhart posted bond Wednesday afternoon. He's been put on administrative leave from the district. In a letter sent to parents on Wednesday afternoon, Superintendent Vicki Thomas said:

"As you may already be aware, today has been a difficult day for all of us at the Fayetteville Public Schools and in the Fayetteville community. Athletic Director Barry Gebhart was arrested last night by the Benton County Police Department on suspicion of Internet stalking of a child.

"Upon my notification of his arrest, Gebhart was immediately placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the police investigation. We are fully cooperating with the Benton County Sheriff’s department in their investigation.

"As a staff member, and as a parent, I urge you to continue to be vigilant in watching over your children’s cyber activity. If you have any concerns regarding this situation, or any other internet safety issue, please contact our school resource officers at 445-1204 or 445-1205.

"The safety of your children is of paramount importance to us. Anytime there is a possible crime such as this, there is a concern for other potential victims. Anyone with any information should contact their local police department. The Fayetteville Police Department may be reached at 479-587-3555.

Gebhart was named Athletic Director in 2009 and had been with the school district since 1984.

More information, tonight on KNWA and Fox News Edge.

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