Local News

Former Johnston County teacher charged with sex crimes

Posted September 2, 2011

— More charges have been filed against a former Johnston County substitute teacher already facing charges of sex crimes against a child.

Robert Dennis Learn, 64, of Clayton, was charged Thursday with statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a child, according to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said the victim was 13 years old and a student at Clayton Middle School, where Learn taught, when the molestation allegedly occurred in 2008. The incidents happened at the school and a Clayton-area pool, authorities said.

Learn worked at several schools from October 2006 to October 2010, including two middle and two high schools.

The girl’s parents filed a complaint with Clayton Middle School in 2008 but were never informed of the outcome, authorities said. When Learn was charged on Aug. 19 with sex crimes against another child, the girl's family contacted police.

Learn was being held under a $1 million bond at the Johnston County jail in Smithfield on Friday.


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  • clg409 Sep 6, 2011

    I have seen that school denied all reports of reports made to them regarding claims made against this teacher. This is absolutely untrue. Mr. Eddie Price was the pricipal and he was spoken to numerous times in regards to this situation. He said the BOE was doing investigation to see if other reports were made. He then reported back that no other reports were made However Mr Learn would NOT be teaching at the school. Mr. Learn was definetly approached by the school in regards to the allegations.

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 2, 2011

    There ya go, and Cumberland will let him (possibly) get a job clean the school when he gets out..

  • lauraleigh Sep 2, 2011

    Gee what a shame that teachers aren't allowed to marry. If they were, none of this would ever happen - Hey, it's a common argument against priest sex abuse, right?

    Look. It's high time this issue gets raised to the roof. Insurance stats indicate that your kid is 100x more likely to be molested by a teacher than a priest. But there's hardly 1/100th the attention given to the problem.

    MOST teachers are allowed to quietly resign and move on - to other jobs, other districts - rather than have the school publicly announce it had a problem in the first place.

  • Brogden Sep 2, 2011

    Johnston County Schools spokesperson denies that this claim was
    ever made in 2008 ---------------- hmmmmm, interesting! If proof
    can be shown that the claim was made, every employee of the system from that date to this who had ANY knowledge should be terminated. Immediately! By the way, I live in Johnston County!

  • caryzoo Sep 2, 2011

    They went to the school first? No response? The school administration needs to be fired. They clearly do not care about the welfare of children. In fact, between the time they contacted the school and then the police, more children were abused. Accessory to the crime seems to fit for these school officials. They could have stopped it for Pete's sake!

  • ncpilot2 Sep 2, 2011

    "twc", The reason they would not report it is their warped attempt at cover up to protect the school from legal action. Believe me, I know that sounds ridiculous and lacks logic, but I assure you this system is plagued with silly and illogical policies.

    Remember, this is the same system recently sued by the ACLU for violating the rights of a student and that allowed two teachers to take the fall for handing out questions to students on end-of-grade testing. Research the system's legal history and you will see the pattern for yourself.

  • tiggerjd3 Sep 2, 2011

    Another incident at JOCO schools slipped under the rug. About 15 years ago, while in a JOCO high school, me and about 30 other girls were sexually assaulted. There was a science teacher whose classroom was located in the gym hallway. He would call girls out to the hallway one at a time. He had a cover over the window and would shut the door. He got me out in the hallway and proceeded to corner me up against the wall and put his hands on my chest, then tell me that he liked me so much that he would fail me if I told anyone. About a week went by, I was depressed, and my dad wanted to know what was wrong. When I told him, he flew off the handle. He reported it to the school, the guidance counselor came and talked to me and basically told me that she did not believe me. Nothing was ever done, and 20 more girls came forward. This was in 1995 and not as common as now. I changed schools and the teacher was forced to retire the next year. Still gives me goosebumps. JOCO gets what they deserve.

  • twc Sep 2, 2011

    ncpilot2, why would they not report it? What sense would that make?

    This is not an incident that would not be appropriately handled in this day and age. The only way I believe this would escape being reported is if the individual it was reported to didn't follow up. In that case that individual should be charged as an accessory. And I'm not just venting—that individual MUST be charged if that turns out to be the case.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Sep 2, 2011

    Ounces - "I would not have even given the school the courtesy of a phone call. I would have gone straight to the police."

    Great point and great suggestion too.

    A crime happens in a school, bypass the school and go straight to the police and to Human Services.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Sep 2, 2011

    "The girl’s parents filed a complaint with Clayton Middle School in 2008 but were never informed of the outcome, authorities said."

    So the guy continued to work with schools until 2010, because CMS didn't handle it properly in 2008???

    Nice work.

    I hope the parents of all children molested after the first report was made by these parents in 2008 sue that school.

    Enough of this nonsense of schools hiding stuff like this, putting the children at risk.