FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A former Bentonville school bus driver has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a teenager, according to Benton County Circuit Court documents.
Joshua Bell, 26, is charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault. Bell was arrested May 8 following an investigation by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.
A 14-year-old girl said Bell raped her at her home in 2016, according to a probable cause affidavit. The girl said Bell often made inappropriate comments to her while on the bus and groped her.
Bell was assigned to buses No. 47 and No. 87 in spring 2016, according to the sheriff’s office. He was immediately suspended upon his arrest and fired May 10, according to Leslee Wright, spokeswoman for Bentonville Public Schools.
Bell has a pretrial hearing set for Aug. 30 in Judge Robin Green’s courtroom. First-degree sexual assault is a Class A felony in Arkansas, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, according to Arkansas Code Annotated 5-4-401.
Bell was being held Thursday (June 22) at the Benton County Jail on a $100,000 bond.