(UPDATE: A representative of the First Christian Church has informed The Nashville News-Leader that Charles “Si” Hornbeck did “work with the youth” during the time he lived in Murfreesboro, but “never held a position of authority” and was not the church’s youth director.
By John Balch
A former Murfreesboro High School Rattler coach made a first court appearance Friday morning in Pike County Circuit Court after being charged last week with six counts of felony sexual assault which allegedly happened during his time at the school.
Charles “Si” Hornbeck, 37, now of Springdale, along his attorney John Pickett of Texarkana, Texas, went before the judge to enter a not guilty plea and have his bond set at $75,000 prior to being booked on the charges.
On Sept. 9, five counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree sexual assault were filed against Hornbeck.
Hornbeck worked as a Rattler coach and teacher on the Murfreesboro High School campus of the South Pike County School District from 2007 to 2014. Hornbeck was most recently employed by the Farmington Public Schools in northwest Arkansas. According to the school, Hornbeck resigned from the school in August.
The investigation began in August of 2019 when the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division Child Abuse Hotline received a fax from the Pike County Sheriff’s Department regarding an assault of a former 16-year-old female student, according to an affidavit for arrest.
The offenses involved three victims, all less than 21 years of age, and all the victims attended youth activity at Hornbeck’s church where one victim said Hornbeck was the youth director.
“There is a four year time span as to when the offenses occurred,” according to case files.
The victims said the alleged assaults took place in the Rattler Field House, at the coach’s home and at the “residence of coach’s parents in Murfreesboro.”
First-degree sexual assault carries a maximum sentence 30 years and a fine not to exceed $15,000. Second-degree sexual assault has a maximum sentence of 20 and a fine not to exceed $15,000.
Hornbeck posted bail and was released Friday morning. He is set to return to court Sept. 28.
Hornbeck’s attorney told nwaonline.com Thursday that the former coach “vehemently denies the accusations against him.”
“He is an innocent man being falsely accused,” Pickett said.