Former Maggie House Employee Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Child

ethan-riley

CHARLESTON (KFSM) — A former employee of the Maggie House was arrested Monday (Sept. 19), accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a child living there, according to court documents.

Ethan Wayne Riley, 25,  of Fort Smith was booked into the Sebastian County Jail, records show. He is facing two charges, one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of sexual indecency with a child, according to documents filed in Franklin County Circuit Court. According to the Sebastian County Jail, Riley has been released on $50,000 bond.

Between Dec. 1, 2015 and Aug. 23, 2016, Riley engaged in sexual contact with an 11-year-old girl, according to court records.

On Aug. 23, 2016, the Charleston Police Department began investigating a complaint regarding an inappropriate relationship between a staff member at the Maggie House and a resident there, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The affidavit states Riley was fired on Aug. 17, 2016 due to his actions, following an internal investigation at the shelter.  Maggie House administrators learned that Riley and the girl had been communicating through emails using a computer at the facility.

In an interview with investigators, the girl told them that Riley had touched her inappropriately on multiple occasions. She told them some of the instances happened at the Maggie House, a movie theater in Fort Smith, as well as a pond in the Paris area. Investigators said the girl told them Riley asked her to perform a sex act on him. He also asked her to have sex with him and to send him nude photographs of herself, but she refused.

Family Ministries, which owns the Maggie House, released this statement to 5NEWS:

“As a ministry we are always saddened when any of our former employees are accused of breaking the law. When the allegations involve crimes against children, our organization immediately removes that individual from any volunteer service or contact with children, and we fully cooperate with law enforcement. We believe that if a child is safe anywhere, they should be safe at Maggie House.

As a matter of policy, Maggie House reports all suspicions of potential child abuse to the authorities. We do not cover up abuse, and we do not hire child abusers, or allow them to serve as volunteers. We have zero tolerance for child abuse in our ministry. We carefully interview and screen our employees and volunteers, and our leadership team works to maintain child protection policies based on best practices nationally and Arkansas state law.

We believe that transparency, child safety, and accountability are essential for successful ministry, and we are fully committed to ministering to our community in a safe and responsible manner. “

Riley was hired at the shelter shortly after it opened in December 2015. The Maggie House is a non-profit shelter for abused and neglected children.