Married teacher arrested after alleged sexual encounter with student in the back of a car

OMAHA, NE—A parked vehicle in a quiet Douglas County neighborhood aroused suspicion when it was spotted at 3 a.m. on a dead-end street. Upon investigation, local law enforcement discovered Erin Ward, an Omaha high school teacher, hastily dressing in the back seat. According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, a scantily clad teenager was seen fleeing the scene.

Ward, aged 45, is alleged to have confessed to engaging in sexual activity with a 17-year-old student she encountered during her tenure at Burke High School. The student was located approximately an hour later, wearing only boxers, a T-shirt, and socks. Ward was subsequently arrested and charged with sexual abuse by a school employee.

The severity of the felony charge could result in a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. As the age of consent in Nebraska is 16, Ward was not charged with statutory rape.

Burke High School’s principal, Darren Rasmussen, issued a media statement following the arrest. He confirmed that a substitute teacher from the metro area had been arrested for inappropriate conduct with a minor. He further stated that the individual had worked at Burke High for several days during the 2023-24 school year and would not be returning to any schools within the district.

The arrest occurred in the early hours of April 13. As law enforcement approached the vehicle, the teenager attempted to drive away, resulting in a crash in a nearby yard. He then fled on foot. Both Ward and the teenager were treated for minor injuries resulting from the accident and were subsequently questioned.

According to inmate records, Ward, a married mother of three, remains in Douglas County jail. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, and the sheriff’s office is urging anyone with additional information to come forward.

Principal Rasmussen emphasized the school’s commitment to student safety and well-being in his statement. He assured that counselors would be available for any students in need of support and encouraged anyone with concerns about inappropriate behavior to contact Child Protective Services or law enforcement.