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Students back Johnston coach facing sexual misconduct charge

Posted March 30, 2012

— A Johnston County high school wrestling coach had the full support of his team, friends and families Friday morning as he went to court for the first time to face allegations of sexual misconduct with a student.

James Joseph McNamara II, 25, was arrested early Thursday evening on a charge of taking indecent liberties with a 16-year-old girl who attends Corinth Holders High School in Wendell, where McNamara also teaches.

He has been suspended with pay since March 6, when the allegations against him surfaced. Investigators say the alleged incident happened off school grounds.

McNamara, who has been with Johnston County Schools for two years, is out of jail on a $5,000 bond. He adamantly denies the claims, and his family says that he is still trying to figure out what exactly the accusations are.

About 20 students on the Corinth Holders High wrestling team, as well as some of their parents, were at Friday's court appearance.

"I don't believe any of it," junior Charlie Gray said. "A lot of times, with cases like this, people don't support (the person charged) because it's usually true. We know Coach Mac, and if you were to have a conversation with him, you would know he'd never do something like this.

"He’s just that kind of person. He would get shy and turn all red if you even made an inappropriate joke around him," Gray continued. "He’s just that kind of person. He wouldn’t even have the capacity to think about doing the things he’s charged with."

Students back Johnston coach facing sexual misconduct charge Students back Johnston coach facing sexual misconduct charge

Gray and others say that they can't believe the allegations and that McNamara is someone they hold in high esteem and see as a mentor and leader.

As an educator, they say, he has helped them stay in school and on the right paths and holds his students to high standards.

"My son is a man of high character. He has a passion for what he does. He has a passion for coaching. He has a set of standards that is well above others," his mother, Diana McNamara, said. "Never would he endanger the career that he has worked so hard to establish."

Diana McNamara, who is also a Johnston County Schools teacher, says the claims are false and that her son is being made an example of because of how poorly, she says, the school system handled a recent case involving a former science teacher accused of molesting at least six boys.

"As a parent, to see your child go through such a thing, it's an awful thing, especially when this is completely untrue," Diana McNamara said. "He's done nothing wrong, and to see him vilified by the school system that refuses to stand behind him – this is a well-orchestrated attempt on their part to try to shame him because he won't back down."

Despite her claim that her son has been cooperating with authorities, the Johnston County Sheriff's Office says that McNamara has been "unwilling to participate" in the investigation.

She said that once her son hired an attorney, investigators did not try to talk with him again. She also said that the school system has presented him three times with the opportunity to resign.

"He has never been uncooperative," Diana McNamara said. "The only thing he has been uncooperative with is refusing to resign, because he has done nothing wrong."

The Johnston County school system had no comment Friday, but referred to a statement it issued Thursday, saying that administrators are conducting a confidential review of the claims and are cooperating with law enforcement.

Parents and students, meanwhile, have taken to social media to voice their support for the coach and have launched an online petition on his behalf.

"Nobody really knows for sure, but I think he’s been wronged, and his reputation is now tarnished," sophomore wrestler Mike Holly said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • RM24 Mar 30, 2012


    Or do you mean only MUG shots, definately no friendly looking pics of the accused and pictures or the "victim" from like years before the incident? You want more biased reporting basically.

    You do realize who is the "victim" here can change if she is lying right?

  • cbuckyoung Mar 30, 2012

    Claims of "sexual harrassment or sexual miscounduct" are the only times where the person accused is persumed GUILTY by the press, police, court system unless they can prove they are innocent. This is completely opposite how the whole process is Constituationally suppose to work. When such claims/lies are made, there is no need for evidence such as a weapon, documents, eye witness, et. al. The "accuser" makes a claim and his/her identity is never revealed. The often real victim-the accused-must prove that he/she didn't do it. Especially vicious are the claims against teachers. The media jumps all over it. The cops try to make the case no matter what. And, DAs go on the attack. And, even if they are found innocent, the accused is ruined. The media never covers this angle. I know. I was a teacher falsely accused. After a year of having my life wrecked, I was found innocent, but can never teach again. By the way, the lead investigator and the false accuser are both now in prison.

  • sunshine1040 Mar 30, 2012

    FACING CHARGES is not the same as being charged so why his mug shot and not the accuser. the time to post his name and picture is after he has been charged. Now WRAL has ruined his career even if he is never charged.
    If cleared will WRAL put that online also with his picture and the picture of the person charged with filing false acdusations

  • dollibug Mar 30, 2012

    +++++First people, it wasn't during or at school it was when he drove the girl home because she said she had a emergency and she couldnt get in touch with her mom. Second, why are we so quick to assume guilt in this case. not one shred of evidence has been prevented in a court of law.

    Sounds like you know a lot about this "incident"....you are correct....when nothing has been presented in court....no one should even be provided with any information....especially the media....but this is public information....so I guess they can do this....they should also reveal the "victim" also though....perhaps it is because she was only 16....old enough to be protected but young enough to make accusations....it is sad when something like this happens....IF it really did.....the truth may never be revealed though...especially IF there is NO EVIDENCE other than she said/he said....perhaps it should be school regulations NOT to allow someone to be alone at any time with a teacher...

  • juliestoneham Mar 30, 2012

    I agree, my instincts say no way... he didnt do it.. there have been many I say yes, but, not this one...

  • RM24 Mar 30, 2012

    I think some information and education on the subject would be beneficial before more articles are written that might spread ignorance, blame victims, and excuse offenders.

    Well you see the writer of this article is writing for an audience in the USA. See in the USA the people are presumed innoncent until proven guilty. We as Americans prefer to hear from both sides. I didn't see anything in the article by the writer blaming the accuser. I guess it should have been more one sided and filled with such language as to outrage the public and potentially start riots ??? I totally missed every point you tried to make.

  • Rocky2.0 Mar 30, 2012

    "It seems that sex related reported crimes are nothing more than a "he said/she said" story leaving the "victim" protected while the defendant is smeared all over the media. "

    Interesting. I find it odd that you think it is easy for a 16 year old to go through bringing charges against a well liked teacher. Yeah, I'm sure no one knows who this she is and I'm sure she's not getting harassed because of it. I sure she feels great that so many people would take the side of this individual and call her these names.

    I also find it odd that you don't think that cops generally take this pretty serious, being men, and they must really like wasting time so this guy can be judged innocent.

    Yeah, some girl lied in 2006, so this girl is lying.

  • advocateandcounselor Mar 30, 2012

    As an advocate and counselor who has worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, I would encourage the author of this article to attend a basic level training on sexual assault at their local agency.
    These trainings are often free or cheap to attend and the proceeds are used by the agency to help survivors.
    Some local agencies include INTERACT of Wake County, Haven in Lee County, Harbor Inc of Johnston County, Orange Country Rape Crisis Center, Rape Crisis Response Center of Durham, and, notably, Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Chatham County.
    I think some information and education on the subject would be beneficial before more articles are written that might spread ignorance, blame victims, and excuse offenders.

  • George Costanza Mar 30, 2012

    First people, it wasn't during or at school it was when he drove the girl home because she said she had a emergency and she couldnt get in touch with her mom. Second, why are we so quick to assume guilt in this case. not one shred of evidence has been prevented in a court of law.

  • juliestoneham Mar 30, 2012

    Charging teachers with sex crimes is beginning to look like the salem witch trials.. If a student gets a chance, or can get other students to say the same, its the teacher, always, right?
    Students dont see the long term repercussions on not only the teacher and his family, but on the student accusing him.. If the student is wrong, thats alot of guilt for a long time. It affects the whole community.. Young people can have many motives for doing this, attention, anger at the teacher for some reason, and others. Yes it does happen, but I wonder how many cases are false, and it isn't proven till lives are ruined, if at all...