Omaha teacher accused of sex crime is spouse of civilian Defense Department worker

A high school teacher who police accuse of being naked in car with teenage student is the wife of a U.S Department of Defense employee at a sensitive military installation, according to information from local law enforcement and government officials.

The agency, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska is a military unit that "detects and deters attacks against the US and its allies" and its mission, according to its website, "includes nuclear deterrence, space, and cyberspace capabilities."

Erin Ward, who taught at Omaha Public Schools until she was taken into custody on Saturday, was arrested on one count of felony sexual abuse by a school employee after police said the 45-year-old married woman allegedly had sex with a 17-year-boy in a car that belongs to her and her spouse.

The vehicle is registered to both husband and wife Erin and William 'Doug' Ward, Douglas County Sheriff Aaron Hanson said.

William (Doug) Ward is" a civilian employee" for United States Strategic Command, Capt. Frederick M. Wallace, confirmed to USA TODAY via email on Tuesday.

Although officials with USSTRATCOM confirmed Doug Ward works for the agency, they would "neither confirm nor deny" whether the arrested teacher is his wife. They would also not release his formal title with the agency.

Photos circulating on social media of the couple together show the woman in Erin Ward's mugshot with a man whose appearance matches that of Doug Ward's photo on his Defense Department bio page.

Last month, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel assigned to USSTRATCOM was arrested and charged with transmitting top secret defense information on a foreign online dating platform after officials said he shared secrets with a person posing as an interested lover.

Omaha teacher sex arrest: Nebraska teacher arrested after police find her, teen student naked in car, officials say

Omaha teacher found undressed in backseat of couple's Honda Pilot

Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a call regarding a suspicious vehicle parked on a dead end road in a neighborhood in Elkhorn, on the western side of the city of Omaha.

According a press release from the sheriff's office, arriving deputies found two people in the backseat of a gray Honda Pilot − one of whom jumped into the driver’s seat, sped off and crashed into a yard two blocks away.

After the crash, deputies reported seeing a teen boy without clothes get out of the driver’s seat and flee. At that same time, according to the release, the other person in the Honda − identified as Ward − was putting her clothes on in the backseat.

A Douglas County Sheriff's Office deputy at a traffic stop. On April 13, 2024, deputies arrested Erin Ward, 45, on one count of first-degree sexual abuse by a school employee after she was allegedly found unclothed in a vehicle with a 17-year-old student. The teen, police said, attempted to drive away when deputies approached the vehicle they were in but crashed into a nearby yard.

When officers found an Omaha Public Schools employee ID in the Honda, Ward told deputies she is was a substitute teacher for the district. Deputies also said she admitted she had sex with the teen − a boy from one of the high schools where she worked.

Deputies later located the teen in a nearby neighborhood wearing only boxers, a T-shirt and socks.

Erin Ward was substitute teacher for Omaha Public Schools

Omaha Public Schools spokesperson Bridget Blevins said Ward served as a substitute teacher in the district starting in September 2023, but "was not considered a full-time or part-time employee."

"They will not be returning to our school or any others in our district," Burke High School Principal Darren Rasmussen wrote to parents in a letter obtained by USA TODAY. "Our top priority is always the safety and well-being of the students we serve."

Doug Ward served as U.S. Air Force intelligence officer for years

According to a post on the Journal of Information Warfare's website, Doug Ward also works for the College of Business Administration University of Nebraska in Omaha.

The bio on the page also says he also served as a U.S. Air Forceintelligence officer for two years as a chemical and biological warfare intelligence analyst.

Embattled retired US Air Force colonel: Colonel shared top-secret intel via foreign dating platform, feds say

Online records show Omaha teacher released from jail

Erin Ward was jailed without bond until Tuesday morning when she appeared for a hearing and a judge set her bond at $25,000, according to Douglas County courts.

It was not immediately known if she had posted bail late Tuesday afternoon or whether she had obtained an attorney.

Anyone with additional information about Ward is asked to contact the sheriff's office.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Erin Ward, teacher accused of sex crime, is wife of USSTRATCOM worker