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Fmr. Catholic High substitute teacher pleads not guilty to sexual assault

Erica Suskie and her husband Paul Suskie walk into court on Tuesday, February 2, 2016. Suskie pleaded not guilty to sexual assault in the first degree.

UPDATE (2/2/16, 10 a.m.):

Former Catholic High substitute teacher Erica Suskie appeared in court Tuesday morning after a warrant was issued for her on a charge of sexual assault in the first degree. Suskie entered a plea of not guilty, then was fingerprinted and released. She is due back in court for a review on March 16.

Catholic High principal Steve Straessle says Suskie was a volunteer substitute teacher for approximately one year until the allegations against her surfaced in October 2015. Straessle said Suskie passed a background check and was certified through the Catholic diocese to work with children.

Straessle released the following statement to Channel 7 News:

Catholic High addressed this issue three months ago and took all appropriate and necessary actions then to ensure the safety and security of our students.

KATV reached out to Suskie's attorney, Erin Cassinelli, on Tuesday, but did not hear back. Cassinelli did reach out to KATV on Wednesday saying they had no comment.

Suskie Affidavit


UPDATE (2/2/16, 8:40 a.m.):

According to Pulaski County Prosecutor John Johnson, a warrant has been issued for Catholic High Substitute Teacher Erica Suskie for sexual assault in the first degree.

The warrant was issued by the North Little Rock Police Department.

Suskie is said to be turning herself in to authorities Tuesday morning.

UPDATE (10/19/15, 12:35 P.M.):

Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler tells KATV that by law, state police cannot confirm a hotline call was made. Sadler added that once it surpasses a maltreatment investigation, if one is taking place, the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction where the crime may have occurred is the agency that would proceed with a criminal investigation.

ORIGINAL:

Little Rock (KATV)- Channel 7 News has just confirmed that school officials at Catholic High School for Boys have reported an alleged inappropriate relationship between a student and a substitute teacher.

Catholic High principal Steve Straessle told Channel 7, "We have heard rumors and as a result have made hotline reports."

Straessle said after hearing rumors last Tuesday, he reported it immediately to the hotline as required by law, and banned the substitute teacher from campus.

Straessle added that he contacted the hotline three times over the course of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after gathering more information. He added that as far as he knew, a criminal investigation was not taking place.

KATV contacted DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb, who said she could not legally confirm that calls to the hotline regarding a student and substitute teacher were reported.

Little Rock police reported to Channel 7 that no criminal investigation was taking place involving the accused substitute teacher. We also reached out to Arkansas State Police, but have not heard back yet.

Channel 7 will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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