Sex offender will help with investigation at Fayetteville private school
Posted May 29, 2015
Fayetteville, N.C. — A registered sex offender who worked at Fayetteville's Freedom Christian Academy struck a deal Friday to cooperate with prosecutors investigating reports that administrators at the school changed student grades.
Paul Conner, 50, of Mosswood Lane in Fayetteville, was arrested Thursday on three counts of violating the sex offender registry guidelines and one count of conspiracy, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, after reports that he was working at the school.
Under state law, a convicted sex offender cannot live within 1,000 feet of a K-12 school or child care center or “work at any place where a minor is present and the person’s responsibilities or activities would include instruction, supervision or care of a minor or minors.”
The school's principal, Joan Dayton, was named in Conner's arrest warrant as a co-conspirator, although she does not face any criminal charges. Both Dayton and Conner say that he was never a school employee and was not on campus during the school day.
Deputies searched the school, on Gillespie Street, on May 20, looking for “documentary and computer evidence” related to allegations of academic fraud where athletes and other favored students had their grades changed “to increase the reported level of performance” while students not favored by administrators had their grades reduced.
In exchange for his cooperation, Conner's bond was changed from secured bond to an unsecured bond and he was expected to be released from the Cumberland County Detention Center Friday evening. In making the case for Conner, lawyers cited his cooperation along with the facts that he is a long-time resident of the county and he runs a business that requires his attention.
Conner was convicted in 1994 for indecent liberties with a minor and sexual offense with certain victims in Robeson County.