A 2002 alumnus and former employee at the all-boys private school has been arrested and charged with four counts of fourth-degree sexual assault for an alleged improper relationship with at least one female student at where he works as a social studies teacher, according to Enfield police.
Tyler Wells, 29, turned himself in to Enfield Police July 25 on a warrant for his arrest and was held on a $1,000 bond, according to Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza.
Later in the day Wells was released on a $10,000 non-surety bond in Enfield Superior Court. Judge Michael Dannehy issued a protective order, prohibiting Wells from have any contact with the female student or being within 100 yards of her.
Wells, a social studies teacher at Fermi for the past three years, has been on paid administrative leave since June 15 when the allegations of an improper relationship with at least one female student arose.
He was a 2011 part-time football running back coach at Wesleyan University in Middletown and began work toward a master of arts in liberal studies there in 2007. He never completed his degree because he took the teaching job at Fermi High School three years ago.
David Pesci, Wesleyan's director of media relations and public relations called Wells a temporary employee.
"He hasn't been employed here since February," Pesci said.
As recently as June 1, Wells took part in a Wesleyan Men's Basketball Alumni golf outing at Quarry Ridge Golf Course in Portland. On June 26, Wells' name and bio were listed under the football coaching staff for 2011. It has since been removed.
Steve McEleney, Wells attorney, asked for the arrest warrant to be sealed but Dannehy said the request met none of the requirements for sealing. Dannehy did order that the female student's name and any identifying information be redacted from the document and sealed from the public.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit released Wednesday afternoon, Enfield police on June 14 began investigating a report from a teacher at Fermi High School that two students had informed him that another teacher was having a relationship with a female student.
The accused teacher was identified as Tyler D. Wells, the warrant says. Police interviewed the alleged female victim’s mother who was adamant that her daughter would tell her if something was going on. The mother said she knew Wells and that he was a nice man.
The mother said that she gave Wells permission to text her daughter and that she didn’t believe he would do anything wrong.
When a detective first spoke to the female student, she told him that there were rumors going on around school that she and Wells were having a relationship, the warrant said. In a written statement, the female student said that she had joked with friends that they had kissed, but she never had. The female student asked what happens after she signed the statement, she was told the investigation would continue and that if anything she said was untrue, she would be charged with interfering with an officer and giving a false statement.
The female student met then with her mother in private for about 15 minutes. When she returned she seemed embarrassed, covering her face with her hands, the warrant said. She finally admitted that she had kissed Wells on two occasions, the warrant said. The kisses took place on separate occasions in March and that she had initiated them, she said those were the only two things that ever happened between them.
She said they exchanged three flirting text messages after the kisses in March, the warrant said.
On June 14, a detective contacted Wells on cellphone who said he was in Las Vegas at the time of the call. Wells and the detective made arrangements to meet upon his return.
On June 19, the alleged victim’s mother spoke with the officer and told him she had found her daughter’s old mobile phone and that there were numerous text messages from Wells on the phone.
The female student came to the police station with her mother and grandparents on June 19 and said she wanted to give another written statement, the warrant said. When she spoke to the detective on June 14, she didn’t tell the whole truth, the warrant said.
In her statement, the alleged victim said around the beginning of March she was in the classroom with Wells and they exchanged cell phone numbers. They started text messaging each other, which initially were asking how each other was doing. At some point Wells started texting messages complimenting her body.
One day in March, Wells asked the alleged victim if she wanted to make out, she said told him no because she was tired, the warrant said. A few days later, she asked Wells if he wanted to make out, he said, “Really?” The victim said they went to the back of the room began kissing and he fondled her, the warrant said.
In her statement, the female student said the two had about 30 encounters “making out.” In some of the encounters, he stuck his hand down her pants, and on one occasion he put her hand on his groin, the warrant said.
In April, when she got a new iPhone they exchanged text messages but he eventually asked her to delete all of the messages to be safe, the warrant said. The two stopped their encounters in May because of rumors circulating in the school, she said.
When the victim was asked by an assistant principal about the rumors in April, she claimed that she had started the rumor, the warrant said.
When the detective spoke to Wells’ attorney Steve McEleney, he told the officer he would allow his client to speak with him about the incident, the warrant said.
When Wells met with the school system’s director of human resources, Christopher Drezek, about the accusations he denied them, the warrant said.
When reached Wednesday morning, Enfield Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Schumann declined to comment on Wells’ arrest referring all questions to the and saying that “it is a police matter.”
McEleney declined to comment on the case outside of the courthouse. Wells apparently left from a back entrance of the building. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 22.
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