A Richwoods High School teacher is charged with criminal sexual assault in Peoria County.
Phillip Earhart, 30, of Peoria Heights was arrested Monday for one count of criminal sexual assault with force. In a statement, Peoria Public Schools said the district was notified of a report of an inappropriate relationship between Earhart and a student on Jan. 25. The Peoria Police Department said that student is a 17-year-old girl.
Earhart was placed on paid administrative leave while the Peoria Police Department and DCFS conducted an investigation.
Earhart remains on paid administrative leave as of Monday. Peoria Public Schools said Earhart could still be terminated regardless of the outcome of any criminal proceedings following "the appropriate due process for the employee."
Earhart is a social studies teacher at Richwoods. He also serves as a mentor for the schools International Baccalaureate Program and an instructor for the AppsCo program. He was named one of iBi Magazine's 40 Leaders Under Forty in 2017.
Any action on Earhart's employment with the school district would be made public in a human resources report following action by the district's board of education.
Earhart has not yet appeared in Peoria County bonding court.
Other Peoria Public Schools teachers have faced sexual misconduct charges in recent years. In 2017, former Trewyn teacher Veronica Dixon was sentenced to four years in prison for having a sexual affair with a 15-year-old boy. Former Roosevelt Magnet School band teacher Maury Beelman was sentenced in 2014 to four years in prison for sexually abusing a high school student. In 2013, former Manual Academy art teacher Amanda Ludwig was sentenced to five years in prison for sexual abuse of a 15-year-old student.