Ex-middle school teacher gets up to 61 years for child sex crimes
Posted June 24, 2013
Smithfield, N.C. — A former science teacher was sentenced Monday to 50 to 61 years in prison for numerous sex crimes against students he taught at a Johnston County middle school.
Paul Clifton Canally, 31, of Clayton, pleaded guilty to 37 charges, including multiple counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, indecent liberties with a child and solicitation, in connection with claims that he victimized seven boys, ages 12 to 15, over a period of several years.
The combined charges carried a maximum of eight life prison sentences and an additional 159 years in prison.
"I wish I could take everything back, but I can't do that," Canally told his victims Monday. "I wish I could say or do more, but I don't think that there's anything that can be done. All I can do is apologize."
Allegations against Canally first surfaced in February 2012 when a former student said he was sexually abused numerous times between April 2010 and February 2012.
Prosecutors said Monday that Canally "preyed" on his targets, "groomed them for abuse" and took advantage of the trust and confidence that both the children and their parents had in him.
All but one of the children were, or had been, his students at Archer Middle School in Wendell, where he taught seventh grade from August 2007 until, Johnston County Schools says, he resigned for personal reasons in July 2009.
Clayton police investigator Jason Linder described in graphic detail the crimes, which included Canally watching pornography with the boys, taking inappropriate photos and engaging in various sexual acts.
Parents of some of the victims spoke in court Monday, saying their lives have been forever changed by the crimes. Some of the children have turned to drugs, others have had problems with the law and one tried to commit suicide.
"He robbed these children of their happiness, of their childhood, their innocence. He put them in so much pain," one student's parent said. "I have no sympathy for anybody that could be so selfish to destroy someone's happiness and their childhood for their own selfish purposes."
Investigators believe Canally might have at least 20 more victims in other states, including Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where he held several jobs at summer camps and shelters for neglected children.
Although Canally has at least one pending case in Pennsylvania, Linder said most of the other boys do not feel comfortable pursuing charges.
"There are more out there who felt like they couldn't talk about it," Linder said. "It's hard when you are talking with male victims of sexual abuse. They don't want to talk about it."