CENTERTON (KFSM) — A former teacher at Life Way Christian School in Centerton pleaded guilty Thursday (Jan. 26) to sexually assaulting a student.
Richard Thomas Riley, 35, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of possession of child pornography, according to Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office Cyber Crimes Division began investigating sexually explicit messages and nude photos that were exchanged between Riley and 16-year-old student in early 2016.
The teen was interviewed by investigators and told them she sent nude photos to Riley and had sexual intercourse with him on several occasions at his home, according to investigators. The teen said the sexual intercourse was consensual and the two were in an exclusive relationship.
Following interviews with authorities, Riley admitted he had sent the teen nude photos and had had sexual intercourse with the student on multiple occasions, according to the sheriff’s office.
While the age of consent in Arkansas is 16, Riley was in a position of authority over the student since he had been a teacher.