Fayetteville AD accused of internet stalking

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Associated Press

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 10:36 AM

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The athletic director at Fayetteville High School has been placed on paid administrative leave after his arrest this week on a felony charge of internet stalking of a child.

Authorities accused Barry Gebhart, 50, of attempting to set up a sexual encounter with a detective posing online as a 14-year-old girl. Gebhart was arrested Tuesday after he arrived at a Rogers shopping mall for a meeting set up by undercover officers, an affidavit said.

Gebhart used the social-networking application Whisper to communicate with an undercover detective, the affidavit said.

"Gebhart continued to speak sexually towards the fictional child, even though Detective (Glenn) Latham reiterated the age of the fictional child as 14," the affidavit said.

Gebhart was released from jail Wednesday after posting bond with an arraignment set for Dec. 2. His attorney, Terry Harper, declined to comment.

Fayetteville Superintendent Vicki Thomas sent a letter to parents on Wednesday notifying them of the arrest.

"Upon my notification of his arrest, Gebhart was immediately placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the police investigation," the letter said. "We are fully cooperating with the Benton County Sheriff's department in their investigation."

The affidavit alleged that Gebhart, who has no prior arrests, admitted chatting online with the fictional girl.

"Gebhart expressed his disappointment in himself and stated he did not deserve sympathy," said the affidavit, written by Detective Glenn Latham. "Gebhart stated he was the athletics director for the Fayetteville High School, had been employed by Fayetteville High School for thirty years and had never had any contact with any of the students he taught."

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