A Fayetteville elementary school teacher has been charged with child molestation in a case involving a former fifth-grade student.
A female student alleged that Cleveland Elementary School teacher Earl William “Bill” Howe, 59, of Fayetteville “inappropriately touched her” during a 2007 after-school tutoring session at the school, said Fayetteville police spokesman Capt. Steve Crawshaw.
The alleged incident came to light when the student was in a counseling session in another school district, Crawshaw said. Police began investigating the allegations Sept. 17 and arrested Howe Tuesday. Howe was released Wednesday from the Fayette County Jail after posting bond.
The girl’s family moved from Fayette last year for unrelated reasons, Crawshaw said.
Nobody answered telephone calls to Howe’s Fayetteville home Wednesday.
Fayette schools spokeswoman Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said Howe passed a background check when he was hired in 2003. He has not resigned, she said, but has been replaced in his fifth-grade classroom where he taught reading, English, language arts, math and science.
According to Howe’s biography posted on the school’s Web site, he served 23 years with the U.S. Navy before getting into teaching. He previously taught in Knoxville and Clayton County. Howe says on the site that he is the “proud dad of six, grandfather of 19 and great-grandfather of two.”