Local News

Charges dismissed: Learning lab worker faces sex charges

Posted April 16, 2010
Updated October 21, 2016

Editors Note: All charges against Nikolai A. Lifanov were dismissed in May 2011. Below is version of the story as it originally appeared in April 2010.

A computer network technician at the Wade Edwards Learning Lab at Broughton High School was arrested Thursday on sex charges involving a 15-year-old student, police said Friday.

Nikolai Alexeevich Lifanov, 21, of 1032 Brighthurst Drive, was charged with two counts of statutory rape and one count of indecent liberties with a student. The alleged offenses occurred between March 10 and Wednesday, according to an arrest warrant.

Lifanov was being held Friday in the Wake County jail under $500,000 bond.

Learning lab officials said Friday that Lifanov has been fired.

The learning lab is an after-school computer center and academic support facility across the street from Broughton High. Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, created the center to honor their son, a Broughton High student who died in a 1996 wreck.

"Learning lab directors are working to be absolutely certain that its students are safe and secure at the learning lab and that such an incident never repeats itself," Sarah Lowder, director of the Wade Edwards Foundation, said in a statement.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • eyeswideopen Apr 21, 2010

    I believe the age difference is actually LESS than 6 years. Nikolai was not an "administrator" at the WELL. He was a part-time employee who just took care of the computer network. He's a kind, decent man who made the mistake of falling for the wrong girl. He is definitely not a criminal. In this case, I think he was actually the victim...

  • ginlee00 Apr 16, 2010

    There should be two or more adults in a learning lab at all times so that the two will be able not only to monitor each other but to vouch for each other in these kinds of cases.

  • jkparrish Apr 16, 2010

    Have you seen 15 year old girls in todays world? They don't look 15 at all.. and a lot of them could EASILY get away with 19-21 if they lied about it.

    They're also more sexual. There are several books about it, some girls are pushing sexual things into boys in schools, etc. Its not to please the young men, its to be "cool" in their social circle of females. In some social circles within young people today if a girl has not given certain sexual acts by 13 or 14, shes an outcast..

    Yes you can blame the man, but at the same time, the female should be 50% to blame as well.

  • fishon Apr 16, 2010

    The real problem is that as an "administrator" he had no business following through on anything.

  • aquest1620 Apr 16, 2010

    The problem Happymom has not considered is that many young men are convicted with no real evidence and that an allegation of a sexual crime can ruin an individual even if they are later found innocent. Frankly the damage is done.
    The facts of this situation remain to be seen. I am sorry to say that girls today are not just innocents and all 18-21 year old guys are not all out to get them. Each case needs to be judged upon its own merits;certainly the facts of all cases are not the same. She may or may not be a Lolita and he may or may not be older man just taking advantage.
    I do not agree that a girl is not old enough to be considered an adult at age 15, we routinely charge 15 and younger as adults when it comes to criminal activity. I sure do not hear many people saying they should not be charged as adults at this age.
    During earler times,it was much more acceptable for girls who were 15 to date guys who were older. And, as I said before it was common in some areas of the country for

  • iron fist Apr 16, 2010

    She is not old enough to consent, if he had sex with this "child" he should go to jail. Even if she were 16-17 the age difference is too great.

  • NCStatePack Apr 16, 2010

    "I don't agree. There is a 9 year age difference between the two people involved here, and no matter how "mature" people may think the 15 year old is, she is still not an adult with a fully developed brain" -happymom

    21-15=6, not 9. Does that change your opinion much?

  • happymom Apr 16, 2010

    I don't agree. There is a 9 year age difference between the two people involved here, and no matter how "mature" people may think the 15 year old is, she is still not an adult with a fully developed brain (as PLENTY of developmental research shows). On top of that, there is a power difference. The 15 year old is more likely to be talked into doing something by someone who is much older and can not share equally in the decision-making. This can actually result in health risks (i.e., not using a condom).

    I do have a problem when we are talking about a 17 year old girl and an 18 year old boy, but that's just not the case here. I get sick of the Lolita label automatically being slapped on every young girl who is taken advantage of by an older man, particularly when there is no evidence that that is the case.

  • aquest1620 Apr 16, 2010

    The statutory rape laws are ridiculous in this type of situation. And, there nothing in place to protect accused individuals from the arbitrary whims of women and girls who had consensual sex. This guy is not a pedophile and now he will be treated the same as pedophiles and violent rapists,if convicted. He will not be able to get a job and it is completely unfair to him. I am a woman and I can see how these laws are abused and used to ruin the lives of individuals who should not have been charged in the first place. The girl is 15 and she certainly knows right from wrong, if indeed this was wrong. My mother was 15 when she married my father. Lets face it until most recent times there were plenty of 13 and 14 years olds getting married. In the state of North Carolina there are 14 and twenty-one year old in high school together, so how does that work? Get realistic.

  • Kelondris Apr 16, 2010

    I totally agree with Freedomrings. I know when I was that age I would have definitely flirted with this guy. I'm being to think the age of consent should be lowered because too many that are over 18 are conned by young teenagers that they are really older than they are and then the adult is charged with rape. Sex is promoted everywhere (TV, ads, books, etc) and teenagers are influenced by this. As parents you can only do so much and hope that your influence prevents instances like this.