RALEIGH — North Carolina Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd (NC-13) has issued a letter to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper inquiring what policies and procedures are in place to protect students in the state from sex abuse by school employees.
“Children in North Carolina schools deserve the highest degree of protection from predators. A school should be a haven where students can focus on learning without fear of sexual abuse,” wrote Budd in the letter. “Parents should know that those in positions of power in North Carolina are acting proactively to protect children in all facets of public education.”
The letter dated Aug. 28 obtained by North State Journal details national reports involving a Virginia public schools counselor named Darren Thornton who was allowed to keep his job for more than a year and a half despite being convicted for soliciting prostitution from a minor. Thornton was arrested again on Aug. 24 for “giving false information when registering as a sex offender,” according to a report by 6 News Richmond.
Budd’s letter also brings up the lawsuit filed in 2021 that alleges staff at the University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts “engaged in a pattern of sexual abuse against students between the late 1960s to early 2010s.”
The lawsuit brought by two 2019 School of the Arts graduates is headed to trial this October. The pair accused the school of mishandling their sexual harassment complaints against Nic Muni, the school’s former opera director. Not including the original two students, nearly 50 plaintiffs have been added to the case.
Budd includes three questions for Cooper to answer by Sept. 9:
- What process or procedure is in place to ensure that a teacher or public school employee is barred from employment if he or she is convicted, or there is an outstanding, credible accusation, of a sex related offense in North Carolina or any other jurisdiction?
- What procedures are in place to screen candidates during pre-employment to prevent abusers from employment in schools?
- What procedures are in place to notify parents when their child is suspected to be the victim of sexual abuse?
North Carolina State Superintendent Catherine Truitt is copied on the letter.
Budd is currently running for one of North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seats against Democrat Cheri Beasley.
According to reports compiled by North State Journal Reporter A.P. Dillon, some 23 public school employees across North Carolina have been arrested since January of this year.
All but two of those 23 arrests included charges of a sexual nature involving a student or minor.
|YEAR||LAST NAME||FIRST NAME||CHARGES|
|2022||Jones||Clinton Justin||18 counts of 3rd degree child exploitation.|
|2022||Faulkner||James Carson||4 counts of indecent liberties child, 4 counts of indecent liberties with a student.|
|2022||Taylor||Adrian Wayne||3 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child.|
|2022||Watson||Kevin Keyon||1 count each first-degree kidnapping, statutory sex offense with a child by an adult, and first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, 2 counts of indecent liberties.|
|2022||Flock||Jeremy Dale||1 count solicitation of a child for sex by computer and 1 count sexual exploitation of a minor.|
|2022||Gilyard||Drayton Lamonte||1 count of indecent liberties with a child and 1 count of misdemeanor sexual battery.|
|2022||Schultz||Jason Aaron||Possession of Methamphetamine.|
|2022||Jenkins||Joshua Landon||3 counts of indecent liberties with a child.|
|2022||Smith||William Landon||27 counts: 1st degree sexual exploitation, 28 counts of indecent liberties with a student, and 1 count of peeping for gratification.|
|2022||Chambers||Anotnisha Jhanelle||Multiple charges including Trafficking by Possession, Trafficking by Transport, Maintaining Dwelling for the Purposes of Narcotics, & Conspiracy.|
|2022||Hicks||Shawn Christopher||3 counts of indecent liberties with a student.|
|2022||Turner||Latisha||1 count of assault on a student under the age of 12.|
|2022||Goodwin||Britton Scott||2 counts of sexual activity with a student and 2 counts of indecent liberties with a student.|
|2022||Cervantes||Amiel Gemali||1 count of indecent liberties with a student.|
|2022||Bera||Stephen Joseph||10 counts each of installing photo imaging and possession peeping images.|
|2022||Braswell||Tammy Annette||1 count of assault on a student under the age of 12.|
|2022||Martin||Richard Gene||Charges included indecent liberties with children by a school official, indecent liberties with children, statutory rape/sex offense of a person 13-15 years of age by defendant 6 years older, contributing to the delinquency and neglect by parents/other, felony possession of marijuana, maintain dwelling/vehicle for a controlled substance, possession of a schedule I controlled substance, and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
On July 28 new charges were added: 2 counts of indecent liberties w/ children by a school official, secret peeping in a room occupied by a female.
|2022||Strahan||Thomas Patrick||1 count of indecent liberties with a minor.|
|2022||Burnette||Robert Dennis||47 felony counts: 3 counts of secretly using a photographic imaging device to view another’s body or undergarments, 6 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, 16 counts of secretly using or installing a photographic imaging device to arouse or gratify sexual desire, 22 counts of possessing a photographic image obtained in violation of the NC peeping statute.|
|2022||Bonano||Miguel||1 count of indecent liberties with a student and 1 count of indecent liberties with a child.|
|2022||Pavon||Albert||2 counts indecent liberties, 3 counts dissemination of obscene materials.|
|2022||Duncan||Adam David||2 counts of first degree sexual exploitation minor and 2 counts of indecent liberties with a minor.|
|2022||Bailey||Elizabeth Suzanne||1 count each of statutory rape of a person who is 15 years of age or younger, indecent liberties with a minor, and sexual activity with a student.
On Aug. 8, new charges were added: 1 count felony statutory sex offense with a child under 15 and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor.