NEW BOSTON, Texas — A former Texarkana Independent School District teacher's aide accused of sexual misconduct with three male students is scheduled to face a jury later this month.
Ashlyn Faye Bell, 24, appeared Friday morning with Texarkana lawyer Bruce Condit for a final pretrial hearing before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston. Among the issues discussed was a motion to suppress a statement Bell gave to a TISD investigator prior to her arrest.
At the time of the interview, Bell was told that she was being questioned as part of an investigation that could determine if she would keep her job at Texas High School and was told she must cooperate. As such, Bell was not warned of her 5th Amendment right to remain silent and avoid making statements that could incriminate her.
First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said the state does not intend to introduce Bell's statement to the TISD investigator or use it against her at trial. Crisp noted that if Bell testifies and makes a claim that contradicts statements she made in the TISD investigation, it could open the door to that statement being used to impeach her testimony.
Condit expressed the view that the statement could be used under no circumstances. Should the issue arise at trial, Crisp said she will approach the judge to ask for a hearing and ruling outside the presence of the jury.
The case is scheduled for jury selection April 27.
Bell is currently under two separate indictments for improper relationship between educator and student with two different 17-year-old boys for conduct that allegedly occurred in the fall of 2019. A third indictment lists two counts of sexual assault of a child involving a 16-year-old boy she allegedly molested in the same time period.
Bell was employed from Aug. 5, 2019, to May 22, 2020, as an instructional aide, according to a previous interview with a school district official.
The case was originally brought to the attention of Texarkana, Texas, police by a teacher at Texas High School who reported a conversation she overheard among a group of male students.
Because the alleged sexual encounters between Bell and the three students occurred at her residence in New Boston, Texas, that city's police department conducted the investigation.
Each of the four charges facing Bell are punishable by two to 20 years in prison. She is currently free on bonds totaling $150,000.