LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A former Melbourne teacher has pleaded not guilty to federal charges he took students across state lines to engage in sexual acts.
Steven Mitchell, 32, of Pineville faces 12 counts involving sexual misconduct with students. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday in federal court.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John F. Forster Jr. ordered Mitchell detained until his trial, a decision Mitchell appealed, court documents show. A judge has not set a hearing for the appeal and Mitchell remains in jail, said Marsha Clevenger, an attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Mitchell, an agricultural teacher at Melbourne High School from 2002 to 2004, took seven underage children out of state and touched them or encouraged them to expose themselves, according to court documents. The documents show Mitchell took the children on trips to Kentucky, Texas and Georgia.
Mitchell pleaded guilty to two sexual assault charges in Izard County Circuit Court in August 2005. Under a plea agreement, Mitchell received five years of probation and had to register as sex offender in Arkansas.
The federal charges Mitchell now faces are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Mitchell's federal trial is set for May 29.
Information from: The Baxter Bulletin, http://www.baxterbulletin.com
©2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.