Erin Ward: Nebraska Teacher Caught Undressed in Back of Car with Teen Student Looks Disheveled in Mugshot After Cheating on Her Husband

She first met the teenage student at Omaha Burke High School before she was caught with him in the early morning hours of April 13.

The Nebraska teacher accused of sexually abusing a teenage student appeared disheveled in a new mugshot before her first court appearance, during which bail was set at $25,000. Erin Ward, 45, appeared dazed and disheveled in a mugshot released by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office three days after her arrest.

Ward appeared in Douglas County Court on Tuesday, wearing an orange jumpsuit, to face one charge of felony sexual abuse by a school employee. The substitute teacher who was caught naked in a car with a teenage student is a mother who is married to a high-ranking federal government employee who attended Harvard, according to records and social media accounts.

Face Says It All

Erin Ward
Erin Ward's mugshot after her arrest X

"Ma'am, you are charged with a Class IIA felony. That is punishable by up to 20 years in jail, up to a $10,000 fine, or both. Do you understand the possible consequences here?" a judge asked in a clip posted by KETV.

Ward responded with a "yes" when the judge mentioned the possibility of her being required to enroll in the state sex offender registry if convicted.

Erin Ward
Erin Ward X

Ward showed up with her lawyer, Jerry Hug, for the brief hearing. Her next court date is in May.

The married mother of three admitted to having sex with the 17-year-old student after they were found in the backseat of Ward's and her husband's Department of Defense vehicle.

Ward was employed by multiple metro area schools as a substitute teacher before her arrest. She first met the teenage student at Omaha Burke High School before she was caught with him in the early morning hours of April 13.

William Douglas Ward
William Douglas Ward X

Police had responded to a report regarding a strange vehicle parked on a dead-end street around 3 am. According to the sheriff's office, when they peered inside the car, they saw the partially clothed teen in the backseat and the nude substitute teacher inside.

The terrified teenager bolted to the driver's seat and drove off, only to crash the car two blocks later. He then got out and ran away on foot.

Admitted Having Sex with Student

Erin Ward stayed in the car, apparently confessing to having slept with the child after getting clothed. Police found her ID from Omaha Public Schools, and she admitted to substituting at several local schools, including the teen's.

Erin Ward
Erin Ward and Dough Ward with their three children X

The sheriff's office reported that the high school student was found hiding in a yard, wearing only his T-shirt and underwear.

Local media reported that a police affidavit describing the incident has been sealed by the court. Prosecutors also said that they don't think Ward and the teenager had sex for the first time before the car collision.

The teacher was not charged with statutory rape because the age of consent in Nebraska is 16, but instead faces a Class IIA felony charge that carries a potential 20-year prison sentence.

Ward lives in Gretna with her family. She is also accused of betraying her husband, a director at the US Department of Defense, with whom she has three children, by sleeping with the teenager.

William Douglas 'Doug' Ward, 53, assumed the role of Deputy Director of the Commander's Action Group and Senior Nuclear Deterrence Advisor at the United States Strategic Command in February, the Daily Mail reported.

His LinkedIn profile indicates that he has been associated with the Strategic Command since 2005, starting as a Deputy Branch Chief.

The Strategic Command, based in Omaha, is a military unit tasked with detecting and deterring attacks against the nation and its allies.

Doug also earned a master's degree in political science and government from the Harvard Extension School in 2021.

Doug Ward has an impressive educational background, holding degrees from the University of Illinois, Bellevue University, and Harvard Extension School.

He is currently pursuing a doctorate in defense and strategic studies at Missouri State University, as indicated on LinkedIn.

Erin Ward
Erin Ward (center) was working as a substitute teacher at Burke High School in Omaha X

The father of three shared a photo on X, formerly known as Twitter, wearing his cap and gown while attending a virtual graduation ceremony during the pandemic.

"I graduated today!" he proclaimed, accompanied by the hashtag '#couchcommencement'.

The couple lives with their three teenage children. Their adopted daughter, who is in 10th grade, is roughly the same age as the boy Ward is accused of having sex with.