A former Dayton City School math teacher was indicted by the Rhea County Grand Jury on four counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of rape of a child, according to court documents.
Michael Scott Arnold, 48, was arrested April 7 after the grand jury returned the indictments. He was booked into the Rhea County Jail and where his bond was set at $25,000, and he has since bonded out.
According to court records, the alleged assaults took place between 2003 and 2010 and involved a child that was younger than 13 at the time. Reports state that the local district attorney’s office and Rhea County Sheriff’s Department investigators were recently made aware of the allegations after the alleged victim, now 21-years-old, came forward.
In both court filings and via a statement from Arnold’s attorney, Howard Upchurch of Pikeville, Tenn., Arnold denied the allegations and any wrongdoing.
“Mr. Arnold had already entered pleas of not guilty. Our next required appear ance dates are 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. “We expect the court to assign a trial date at either the May 7 plea or assignment appearance or at a subsequent deadline appearance. Mr Arnold is a career tenured educator and the timing of these allegations alone casts doubt about their veracity.”
Dayton City School Superintendent Trish Newsom said that the allegations did not involve a student at the school and that the school, upon hearing of the allegations, suspended Arnold.
Dayton City School is committed to the safety, well-being, and best interest of its students.
“State law requires schools to follow a specific process for the dismissal of tenured teachers. As soon as Dayton City School was made aware of the allegations against Mr. Michael Arnold, we immediately suspended him and from that point, he was not allowed on the Dayton City School campus,” Newsom said. “Also, we were following the process for dismissal of tenured teachers when his attorneys obtained a Temporary Restraining Order halting those proceedings.
“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. A hearing on the Temporary Restraining Order was set for April 16, 2021. However, the Rhea County Grand Jury indicted Mr. Arnold on April 5, 2021.”
Newsome said that Arnold resigned as a teacher at DCS that he was suspended from his employment at the time he tendered his resignation and was also suspended prior to his resignation.
“Dayton City School will continue to remain committed to the safety and well-being of our students,” Newsom said.