A Dayton City School math teacher has been arrested on multiple allegations involving a child, according to Rhea County, Tennessee, authorities. That teacher resigned on Monday.
Michael Scott Arnold, 48, is free on a $25,000 bond after being booked on charges of rape of a child and four counts of aggravated sexual battery related to an April grand jury indictment, according to Rhea County Circuit Court and jail records.
The charges span a seven-year period from Nov. 10, 2003, to Nov. 10, 2010, and involve a child who was younger than 13 at the time, according to court records and officials.
Twelfth Judicial District Assistant District Attorney David Shinn said the case arose when the now-21-year-old alleged victim recently came forward with the allegations.
She "decided she needed to tell somebody," Shinn said Wednesday. "The allegations stem from about 11 to 16 years ago. It was a series of events - five different incidents - that all fell within that time range."
He couldn't elaborate further, he said.
Arnold's lawyer, Pikeville, Tennessee-based Howard Upchurch, said Arnold has already entered not guilty pleas regarding the charges and that he has upcoming court dates on April 30 and May 7.
"Mr. Arnold vehemently denies all allegations of wrongdoing, and he and I intend to aggressively attack the indictments and each and every element of all offenses alleged in the indictment," Upchurch said Wednesday in an emailed statement.
"We expect the court to assign a trial date at either the May 7 plea or assignment appearance or at a subsequent deadline appearance," he said. "Mr. Arnold is a career tenured educator, and the timing of these allegations alone casts doubt about their veracity."
Dayton City School officials said the investigation led to some legal battles initially.
"Dayton City School had suspended Mr. Arnold and was following that process for dismissal when attorneys for Mr. Arnold obtained a temporary restraining order halting those proceedings," Dayton City Schools director Trish Newsom said Wednesday in a statement.
"Specifically, the Dayton City School Board had a special called meeting set on March 29, 2021, for the presentation of charges of dismissal against Mr. Arnold when his attorneys were able to obtain a temporary restraining order prohibiting the school board from meeting to consider those charges for dismissal," Newsom said.
She said an April 16 court hearing was set on the order until the grand jury indictment was issued April 5.
"On April 12, 2021, Mr. Arnold resigned as a teacher at Dayton City School," Newsom said. "Mr. Arnold was suspended from his employment at the time he tendered his resignation and prior to his resignation."
Newsom noted none of the charges involve students at Dayton City School which "remains committed to the safety and well-being of our students."
She said her comments would be limited to the statement for now.
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