SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Following a Siloam Springs school teacher’s arrest for first-degree sexual assault after a report of “inappropriate activity” with a student, court documents have shed more light on the specifics of that relationship.
Ethan Wells, 29, was taken into custody by Siloam Springs police and booked into the Benton County jail on February 23 and was released on a $75,000 cash bond. On February 27, an affidavit of probable cause in the case was filed in Benton County circuit court.
The report was written by a Siloam Springs Police Department detective. It stated that he was contacted by a Siloam Springs school resource officer who was advised by a parent of “an improper relationship” between Wells and her son, a former student.
Police conducted a recorded interview with the victim and he told investigators that he met Wells in 8th grade, when the defendant was his choir teacher. The victim said that the two became “close friends during this time,” and that Wells became his mentor.
The victim said he developed feelings for Wells and told him this on April 9, 2022, thinking that the defendant would tell him that the feelings could not be acted upon.
According to court documents, Wells did not say that, but told the victim that “there were feelings for him too.” The victim stated that they began a relationship two days later but Wells ended it on June 23, 2022, saying it “could not go any further until he graduated high school.”
The victim explained that the two met for sexual encounters on school property twice before he graduated and that it “never felt forced between them.” He added that after graduation, he started realizing what occurred was wrong.
The victim said he had “broken things off” with the defendant, but contacted him in August, 2022, hoping to have Wells return in his capacity as a mentor. The victim “quickly realized that could not happen,” according to the report.
The victim began receiving therapy which he said helped him understand the “power dynamic.” He added that the relationship was a mistake that “should have never happened.”
Wells alleged that the victim initiated the sexual encounter, and the defendant claimed that “instead of saying no and doing the right thing, he gave into the temptation and the sexual encounter.” He added that the victim said he would not tell anyone what happened.
Wells agreed to an interview with investigators on February 20 but canceled five minutes before it was set to begin.
“I won’t be able to attend our meeting today,” Wells texted. “As I don’t have anything to say on the matter.”
According to Arkansas criminal statutes, sexual assault in the first degree occurs when the person is a teacher, principal, athletic coach or counselor in a school from grades K-12 and “engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a person who is not the actor’s spouse” and is under 21, enrolled in the school and the actor is “in a position of trust or authority over the victim.”
That statute adds that consent from the victim is “no defense to a prosecution.”
Wells has a court appearance scheduled for April 3. The court also ordered that he not make contact with the victim.