A Mountain Home middle school principal accused of sexual abuse of a minor has appeared for the first time in Elmore County court.
John Fredrick Clark has been accused of abusing two girls over several years after one of them told a school counselor about the abuse. Neither of the alleged victims are students at his school.
The incidents occurred between 2013 and 2015.
Scott McKay has been chosen to represent Clark and has since asked for a preliminary hearing. McKay argued that the accusations have come out of “nowhere” and Clark has no criminal record. He went onto explain that horseplay is common at the home and the abuse allegations are untrue.
The defense has argued that Clark is not a flight risk or a threat to the community. Clark plans on pleading not guilty.
A bond of $25,000 has been set by the state which Clark will be able to make bail for.
Clark has since been placed on administrative leave from Tom Hacker Middle School and will appear back in court on February 12th at 10 am.
Mountain Home School District Superintendent James Gilbert sent a statement out following the arrest:
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As many of you may or may not know, the Principal of Hacker Middle School was arrested Friday evening. While the district normally doesn’t publically address personnel matters, due to the severity of these allegations, we feel it is important to reassure our parents that the safety of your children is our top priority. We want to inform parents that this incident did not involve any Hacker students or happen on school grounds. The principal is no longer in the building and has been placed on administrative leave by the district. While we know there may be many questions regarding this situation, the district is limited on the information that can be provided, as this is a personnel and criminal matter.
As we move forward, we want to assure you that we have a plan in place to address the needs of students and staff at Hacker Middle School.
James Gilbert, Superintendent