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Sex offender will help with investigation at Fayetteville private school

Posted May 29, 2015

Fayetteville's Freedom Christian Academy
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— 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.

6 Comments

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  • Aanritsen Deur May 29, 2015
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    Correction:
    "Those who try to make wrongs into big and little wrongs, are trying to find a way to make excuses for certain forms of misbehavior they mistakenly believe are less heinous."

    Wrong is still 100% wrong, regardless of what anyone might errantly be led to believe.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 29, 2015
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    Wrong is wrong!!!
    Something is either right, or it is wrong.
    There are no degrees of it!!!
    Those who try to wrongs big and little wrongs, are making excuses for certain forms of misbehavior.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 29, 2015
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    Hmmm...
    Speechless.

  • Donald Holder May 29, 2015
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    They didn't let him off the hook, they changed his bond from secured to unsecured.

  • Nicolle Leney May 29, 2015
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    These should be two separate investigations.

  • Tom Preston May 29, 2015
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    LOL WHAT? Obviously I don't know all of the details but how is letting a sex offender off the hook so we can catch some people who changed grades a good idea?

    This sounds like the people in red who think the UNC scandal is more serious than what Penn State went through with Sandusky.

    CHANGING GRADES IS BAD BUT NOT AS BAD AS MOLESTING CHILDREN. My goodness....