Teacher arrested for inappropriate contact with student
By Matt Mershon
MONTICELLO (KATV) - A Drew Central High School English teacher faces a sexual assault charge after the discovery of an inappropriate relationship with one of her students. The teacher, Helen Banks, 57 of Monticello, is currently out on a $25,000 commercial bond awaiting arraignment. "If there is some type of inappropriate action that has occurred in the school district, then we're on top of it," said Billy Williams, superintendent of Drew Central Schools in an interview outside the Arkansas Department of Education Building in Little Rock. Williams said he couldn't comment on personnel matters, but according to the Drew County Sheriff's Office, it appears the school district was the entity that discovered the relationship. School officials uncovered e-mails back and forth between the 16 year-old female student and Banks; e-mails that originated on school computers. Lt. Tim Nichols, detective with the Drew County Sheriff's office said the district called the Crimes Against Children hotline in Little Rock with their findings. The agency then forwarded the investigation to Drew County. "We got the e-mail, I began looking at the report and I went and talked to the victim," said Nichols. Nichols said the victim corroborated the story, leading investigators to interview Banks. Banks declined to go on camera and do an interview with KATV, but Nichols said she admitted to the sexual assault during the interview with her. "She stated that she knew what she had done was wrong," said Nichols. The investigation found the alleged relationship didn't involve intercourse, rather inappropriate touching, but according to Nichols the touching occurred while on school grounds. "I think it started off more as a confinement - as a friendship type thing - and then led to something more," said Nichols. This isn't the first Drew Central High School employee involved in sexual indecency. Back in 2012, the school's then principal, Steven Noble, was arrested and subsequently fired in regard to an internet sting operation out of Arizona involving a 14 year-old girl. According to Superintendent Williams, Banks supposedly submitted a letter of resignation to the school district, but resignation won't be tendered until the school board meets Thursday night at their regularly scheduled meeting. Banks faces just one charge of second degree sexual assault, a class B felony, but could face more charges upon arraignment and further investigation.
KATV ABC 7 in Little Rock, Arkansas covers news, sports, weather and the local community in the city and the surrounding area, including Hot Springs, Conway, Pine Bluff, Jacksonville, Sherwood, Stuttgart, Benton, Bauxite, East End, Scott, Pinnacle, Maumelle, Gibson, Landmark and Hensley.