Local News

Teaching assistant faces sex offense charge

Posted February 1, 2012

— A teaching assistant at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School resigned Wednesday after being charged with a sex crime involving a 14-year-old boy.

Phillip Jerrod Barham, 20, of 2504-101 Tryon Grove Drive, was arrested Tuesday on one count of statutory sex offense stemming from a Jan. 19 encounter at the boy's home.

Police responded to a 911 call that day about a fight at the home. When they arrived and started investigating, they were told the boy had been sexually assaulted.

Barham's family said after a court appearance Wednesday that he is innocent and that the boy's mother made up the story.

Greg Thomas, a spokesman for the Wake County Public School System, said Barham, who was hired in October, resigned Wednesday morning.

The school system, Thomas said, is conducting an internal investigation, which is standard when a school employee is accused of inappropriate behavior.

The boy's mother said Barham and her son were friends but that he does not attend Southeast Raleigh High.

Barham was in the Wake County jail Wednesday under an $800,000 bond.


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  • larpsim Feb 2, 2012

    Has this man been proven guilty beyond any doubt yet? Or are there still some more investigating to be done? If he is guilty he deserves to go to jail. But if he is actually innocent of this crime, what a shame to have one's good name destroyed forever by the false accusation of another.

    This has to be one of the scariest things for those adults who have to be in charge of minors.

    A few years ago a father almost went to jail because he was accused by his 7 year old son of molesting him. As it turned out, the son later denied it and said he did it because he was mad at his dad for not letting him go trick or treating on Halloween.

  • superman Feb 2, 2012

    Yet another mistake by the school system. Hire a 20 yr old teaching assistant. Guess he was good friends with the principal. I thought the school board had to approve people who were hired. They could have easily hired someone with at least some college -- if not someone with a college degree. Lots of people out of work.

  • djofraleigh Feb 1, 2012

    I thought they did a back-ground check of anyone working on school campuses. -- they do, required by law, but there are lapses after hiring is done. This guy probably has a clean record. I didn't see that he did....

  • djofraleigh Feb 1, 2012

    What possible credentials could a 20 year old have that would allow him to be a teaching assistant at a high school? - questioning comment

    I don't know what the requirements are, but I figure being a high school graduate would be enough, but most schools would not hire a 20 year old due to lack of experience, I'd think. Track record matters. He worked at South East Raleigh HS, but the 14 year old didn't go there, being middle school age.

    I just don't believe it was a sexual assault...just seems weird to me, but the investigation will tell.

  • djofraleigh Feb 1, 2012

    Hopefully, in about 2 years, his job might be available - funny comment

    well, in this case, he did resign his TA position, and if it is in a special education class, there are requirements to have a ratio so one would be hired, freeze or not. If he were a secretary...??

  • djofraleigh Feb 1, 2012

    Maybe one of the good 11,000 the Republicans laid off can get back in the classroom. -- hater comment

    did you check his party affiliation before posting? Wake Schools actually added teachers.

  • djofraleigh Feb 1, 2012

    We should wait and see more evidence before we judge this case. No one is in danger while he is locked up and he has resigned from school work. If innocent, he is ruined even if proven innocent.I'd been yelling for a lie detector test for PR reasons, if no other.

  • tiredofthenet Feb 1, 2012

    Who looked at this and thought it was a good idea to allow him near children? Seriously, this is pathetic. And if so many of you have kids graduating with associate degrees, why are they still so stupid? You should be expecting more of your schools in this area. For starters, can we expect them NOT to hire sexual predators?

  • ghimmy51 Feb 1, 2012

    Maybe one of the good 11,000 the Republicans laid off can get back in the classroom.

  • ewcheercoach Feb 1, 2012

    Some high schols now have students graduate with a 2 year associates degree. We have one in Wayne county- Wayne Early Middle College High School.