Former coach, teacher pleads innocent to sexual assault, indecency charges | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

A man who worked as a coach and teacher at the Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock has pleaded innocent to charges of sexually assaulting students at the school, court records show.

Stephen Lister, 56, of Sherwood entered the plea Monday in the Pulaski County Circuit Court before Judge Cathleen Compton, court records show. He faces two felony charges of first-degree sexual assault and one of sexual indecency with a child.

Little Rock police arrested Lister on Aug. 22 at his home after a tip from the child abuse hotline, an incident report shows.

The first person to contact police, a 16-year-old girl, told investigators Lister touched her inappropriately on numerous occasions during a study hall class he was responsible for. He also showed her photos of him engaging in sexual acts and propositioned her for sex, she said.

A 19-year-old former student at the school contacted police during the investigation and said Lister turned a close relationship that he had with her into a sexual one, the police report states.

In a statement Tuesday, Episcopal Collegiate Head of School, Jamie Griffin, said Lister started working for the school in July 2018 and resigned Oct. 2, 2021.

“The School had no knowledge of alleged criminal behavior at the time of his resignation,” Griffin said.

He said the Arkansas State Police and Little Rock Police Department informed the school earlier this year of an investigation into Lister involving claims of child maltreatment.

“The School cooperated fully and provided all records of his employment to ensure that the investigation would proceed as comprehensively as possible,” Griffin said. “The School received no further inquiries nor follow up from law enforcement until being informed of Mr. Lister’s arrest on August 22, 2023.

“The safety and well-being of our students is always our utmost concern,” Griffin continued. “Background investigations are a requisite term of employment at Episcopal Collegiate. Additionally, all School employees are required to complete child safety training through the Stewards of Children Darkness to Light program.”

He said the school couldn’t comment further due to the pending criminal case.

Lister was released from the Pulaski County jail on Aug. 23 on a $100,000 bond, court records show. He was served with a no contact order Monday. His jury trial is set for May 22-23, with a pre-trial hearing in April.


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