BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A former Siloam Springs choir teacher accused of sexual assault pleaded guilty today and was sentenced to probation.
Ethan Wells, 29, was taken into custody by Siloam Springs police and booked into the Benton County jail on February 23. He was charged with first-degree sexual assault.
According to court documents, a detective with the Siloam Springs Police Department was contacted by a school resource officer at a Siloam Springs school who advised that a parent had reported an inappropriate relationship with a former student.
Police conducted an 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.
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 that what occurred was wrong.
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.
During a hearing on Sept. 20, Wells took a plea agreement and changed his plea from not guilty to guilty. He was sentenced to six years of state-supervised probation.
Additionally, a judge ordered that Wells is not allowed to have contact with any former students, he cannot be employed again as a teacher and he must register as a sex offender.