Local News

Former Johnston teacher charged with child sex abuse

Posted March 1, 2012
Updated March 16, 2012

— Clayton police on Wednesday arrested a former Johnston County teacher on charges that he sexually abused a teenage boy numerous times over a 19-month span.

Paul Clifton Canally, 29, of 148 Buchanan Lane, was charged with five felony counts of statutory rape, five counts of felony indecent liberties with a child and eight misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. He was also charged with 13 felony counts of third-degree sexual exploitation related to child pornography seized during a search of his home.

The boy was 14 and 15 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, which police said occurred between April 2010 and last December at Canally's home. According to warrants, the boy went to police in February and told them graphic details about the alleged abused he endured.

Canally was a seventh-grade science teacher at Archer Lodge Middle School from August 2007 to July 2009, when he resigned for personal reasons, Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms said.

Sessoms said there were no written complaints against Canally during his tenure, and the school district took no disciplinary actions against him.

Police seized two computers, a portable flash drive, a mobile phone, a digital camera and other items from Canally's home during their search. 

Canally was being held Thursday in the Johnston County jail under a $1,020,000 secured bond.

Bill Kearns, who lives near Canally, described his neighbor as "the nicest guy in the world."

"And that's what's so alarming," Kearns said. "(It's) kind of strange, always having young boys, kids over to his house – parties and barbecues, things like that. We did not feel good about it."

Some neighbors said they felt uncomfortable letting their children hang around Canally's home.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • tinytoons65 Mar 5, 2012


  • thesmiths1013 Mar 2, 2012

    I am glad to hear that more charges are filed against this man (actually the word man is too good use for him).

  • Ex-Republican Mar 2, 2012

    It appeared for a while that the only male homosexual predators were in the Catholic church. Now they are everywhere, from highschool teachers to university assistant coaches.

  • legalgal Mar 2, 2012

    First, some of you (that are criticizing parents) need to refer to my previous post for more information.
    Second, sometimes people try to get things done, but larger forces are at hand. Unfortunately, there are times when something more serious must come to light to get the right persons attention. That is when things are accomplished. This is one of those cases and sadly there are now many more children involved than 3 years ago. Lives have been changed forever.
    I strongly encourage every teenager that has information to tell someone. I know that many of you are reading these comments and talking on FaceBook. This is a sad situation and many of you are hurting for various reasons. Do not try to carry the burden alone. There are loving, caring adults that are here for you.

  • djofraleigh Mar 2, 2012

    This is not proven, but by his having young boys over to his house a lot makes the man look guilty. Maybe there were other adults there, a wife?

  • lmhzmc Mar 2, 2012

    I am a mother of 2 boys. I know there are times that I am "out of the loop" on something. If something bad ever happened to them and then I found out that so many parents knew, but because the school didn't listen to their complaints they did nothing...I would furious. Those parents that knew something was going on deserve to live with guilt for the rest of their lives. Maybe next time, they won't just gossip about it, but actually get something done to protect the children.

  • Sweetgrl3 Mar 2, 2012

    Never mentioned Riverwood, Sorry! The ALMS school knew about this and allowed him to "resign". ??? Why didn't they go straight to the authorities?

  • itsnotmeiswear Mar 2, 2012

    "I live in this community and I can vouch that there are stange things that happen in Archer Lodge. They are very rude people if you are an outsider (Not a Flowers, Barnes, Castleberry's, etc)"

    Please tell me what this has to do with Archer Lodge neighborhoods. The teacher taught at Archer Lodge, but the abuse occured at his home in Riverwood. Riverwood is not in Archer Lodge, and Riverwood kids don't attend ALMS.

  • psycho Mar 2, 2012

    "Come on! Normal single guys don't hang out with tweens and teens. They just don't"

    Right. And although he was a teacher and I know that most teachers - male or female - do care about their students, BELIEVE ME, at the end of the school day they do NOT want to spend their off-hours with middle-schoolers or high-schoolers!

  • 42ITUS Mar 2, 2012

    There was a question about the bond amount earlier and in some cases like this with enough publicity the bond is set high enough to keep the defendant in jail for his own protection. School administrators will typically allow these alleged pedophiles to voluntarily resign to avoid any liability and negative press. When the reference check comes from the next employer all that is provided are dates of employment. Law enforcement hates these cases too because of the unreliability of child witnesses and the propensity of the families involved to not cooperate in order to save the child/family further embarassment and pain.