UPDATE 11:50: The Monett School District released this media statement to Ozarks First:

“We are aware that a Monett R-1 employee, Mr. Timothy Steeley, has been arrested and charged with a class C felony for first-degree sexual abuse. Mr. Steeley was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The Monett R-1 School District conducted a background check on this individual as it does with all employees. The Monett School District does not have knowledge of any issues or concerns prior to the arrest. The District takes these matters seriously and has cooperated fully with the Christian County law enforcement during their investigation. We place the well-being and safety of our children as our highest priority. We are committed to providing a safe and successful learning environment in the Monett R-1 School District.”

-Monett School District

School officials are not accepting interviews.

“The District is aware of this matter, but cannot comment on personnel matters; however, we take these matters seriously,” wrote Ana Espinoza, the director of communications for Monett Schools.

Original story:

MONETT, Mo. — A Monett teacher was arrested on charges of sexual abuse and statutory sodomy of a 15-year-old boy.

Timothy Steeley, 62 — a special education teacher for the Monett School District — was arrested after a months-long investigation into a sexual encounter involving a minor.

According to a probable cause statement, Christian County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call at 1:45 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2021 call about a suspicious vehicle. When deputies responded, they found Steeley parked in a driveway not his own. He told deputies that he was delivering books to a young man who purchased them online. He was released.

At 10:21 p.m. later that day, deputies checked with the people who lived in the house Steeley was parked next to. The residents said that their 15-year-old grandson was staying with them. Deputies brought up the suspicious vehicle call they had responded to that morning and the grandson began to cry, admitting that he had used social media to message Steeley and give him the address. When Steeley arrived at the house, they allegedly performed sexual acts.

In March, law enforcement met with the boy in Colorado for a forensic interview. The boy told law enforcement that he used a social media application used by gay people to meet. He said this is how he met Steeley, who he identified through a copy of the man’s license. The night of the exchange, he told Steeley that he was not allowed to come inside the house. Instead, he went out to Steeley’s truck in the driveway.

On Sept. 16 of 2022, Christian County deputies met Steeley at the Monett school where he worked. In this interview, Steeley explained that he put college books up for sale on Craig’s List. The buyer said that Steeley could only give them the books after midnight. Steeley said that he met “some kid,” who got into his pickup for a few minutes before he decided he did not want to purchase the books and left.

Steeley was arrested. He remained calm and composed through his arrest and slept all the way to the detention center, according to the probable cause statement.

Steeley was bonded out of jail on Sept. 17. He is formally charged with first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree statutory sodomy. No court date has been set yet.