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Former high school coach pleads to lesser charge in sexual misconduct case

Posted August 19, 2013

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— A former wrestling coach accused of sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old student at the Johnston County high school where he taught pleaded guilty Monday to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

James Joseph McNamara II was arrested in March 2012 on a felony charge of taking indecent liberties with a minor after the student said McNamara, 25 at the time, drove her home and then touched and kissed her inside her house.

McNamara, who was also a history teacher at Corinth Holders High School in Wendell, was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation, was ordered to surrender his North Carolina teaching certificate and prohibited from being alone with anyone under the age of 18 during his probation.

Johnston County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Sandling said Monday that the state's evidence would have supported the victim's accusations.

"The Johnston County District Attorney's Office is committed to the safety of our students and will ensure their safety even if the perpetrators are the people employed to educate them," she said in a statement.

Students and parents backed McNamara, who was hired by Johnston County Schools in August 2010, saying his reputation as a coach and educator was tarnished and that he was incapable of the behavior described by his accuser.

During a hearing last May, the teen admitted to having a crush on the teacher and said she drank vodka at the time of their alleged encounter to calm her nerves.

McNamara resigned from his teaching job in June 2012.

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  • btneast Aug 20, 2013

    The "he knew better" comments and assumptions that he did anything without a judge of character are just baseless.

    Ahhh, maybe not. Being alone with someone of the opposite sex was what he should have known better about. Many pastors will not counsel someone of the opposite sex without someone else present. Its why most office doors are at least half glass. All school systems should have a training session on things to do, or better not do, the keep things like this from happening.

  • waket88 Aug 19, 2013

    Don't know who's fault it is, the judicial system only giving the press limited information, or WRAL not reporting everything, but I know the coach personally. He didn't even get out of his car. Nobody drank in front of him, at all, and there was no seduction going on.

    This was a student who had a crush on the teacher and did this for attention - everyone at the school knows it too, unfortunately.

    The "he knew better" comments and assumptions that he did anything without a judge of character are just baseless.

    He took a plea so he could move on with his life, truly begin his marriage and put this entire nightmare behind him.

    Plea deal =/= admission of guilt.

  • lwe1967 Aug 19, 2013

    He knew better! What is a matter with people who do this. They know that it is wrong. Even though nothing more happened, it could have further down the road.

  • TheBigLC Aug 19, 2013

    I assume that he will not be hired as a teacher again after this plea?

    djofraleigh

    Did you read where it said surrendered his teaching license? Duh.

  • TheBigLC Aug 19, 2013

    How about taking it away from her and dumping it down the drain?

    He was the adult. He should have handled the situation better.

    Hills-n-Hollers

    What and add an assult charge? Give me a break.

  • TheBigLC Aug 19, 2013

    This teacher may have used poor judgment in giving the kid a ride home but he was railroaded by a county which does not support it's teachers. They talk a good game but do not follow through. They will let5 a teacher hang out to dry. If the DA's case was so strong why the plea bargaining????? CHoooCHooo railroad ahead.

  • gsmusty Aug 19, 2013

    The DA agreed that he never touched her.

  • dogluv3r Aug 19, 2013

    I NEVER defend predators, but after the statement at the bottom, it almost sounds like she tried to seduce him, failed, and he did not report it, which he should have done. Maybe him trying to keep her out of trouble just cost him his career. Just a thought.

  • Justic4All Aug 19, 2013

    Why does everyone assume she drank in front of him? That he even had a chance to stop her?

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Aug 19, 2013

    UNCRules - "How was he supposed to stop her from drinking in his presence in her own home?!?"

    How about taking it away from her and dumping it down the drain?

    He was the adult. He should have handled the situation better.

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