Local News

Sex abuse charges pile up against former Clayton teacher

Posted April 5, 2012

— A seventh boy has come forward to claim that a former Johnston County science teacher, already facing a long list of charges, sexually abused him, Clayton police said Thursday.

Paul Clifton Canally, 29, of 148 Buchanan Lane, Clayton, was charged Wednesday with one count each of indecent liberties with a child and sex offense with a student in connection with offenses alleged to have occurred at his home from September to December 2008.

He already faced 42 charges, including six counts of statutory rape, two counts of sex with a student, eight counts of indecent liberties and eight counts of sexual battery in alleged offenses dating to 2008 involving boys under 16.

The new charges bring the toll to 36 felony counts and eight misdemeanor counts, investigators said. Canally was in the Johnston County jail under a $2.83 million secured bond.

Clayton Police Chief Glen Allen said that three of the seven boys were students of Canally's at the time of the alleged offenses and that the others were his former students.

Canally, who taught at Archer Lodge Middle School, was arrested in early March on charges that he sexually abused a former student numerous times between April 2010 and February.

"I don't think this is the end of it. I think there's more people out there," the first accuser said Friday. "This guy's been around kids since he was a very young man. He's been out there a very long time."

The boy was a former student who connected with Canally on Facebook. Investigators said Canally eventually earned the boy's trust and that the behavior escalated to him asking personal questions, having sleepovers and performing sexual acts.

Paul Canally Seventh boy accuses Clayton teacher of sex abuse

A family friend eventually convinced the boy to go to police when she overheard him on the phone arguing with Canally.

"I was surprised and happy that someone else came forward," the boy said. "I think it's important. If you don't tell anybody, (the abuse is) going to keep on going, and there's going to be a lot more victims. Just go to the police right away and tell them, and they'll stop the behavior, and it won't affect anybody else."

Allen said that his office's investigation remains very active and that detectives also believe there could be more victims.

"We would like to urge them to step up," Allen said. "These very young kids have been victimized badly, and I think the fact that the alleged offender is now in jail and under a high bond may give them confidence that justice will be served in this case and may persuade them to come forward."

Allen said he couldn't recall a similar investigation of this magnitude.

"It's always disturbing when a person of authority acts as a sexual predator among a child who looks up to that person," he said. "It's very discomforting to me."

Canally worked as a seventh-grade science teacher and science club adviser at Archer Lodge Middle from August 2007 to July 2009, when he resigned amid a school investigation into a verbal complaint that did not involve alleged sexual misconduct.

The district was never aware of any sexual misconduct claims while Canally was employed, Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms said.

But the mother of one of the victims said that she believes the school system didn't do enough to protect students.

The school system declined to comment on the claim Thursday but reiterated that the district takes seriously every complaint against a teacher and investigates every complaint thoroughly.

"Johnston County Schools is aggressive in addressing potential issues of employee misconduct, erring on the side of student safety even when the personnel decisions are not popular," Sessoms said in a statement.


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  • catchfinally Apr 9, 2012

    @Lovemy2kids, babsd24 - I assure you that while you may never know every detail of every minute of your childrens lives... if you're connecting to them as you should and being proactive like a responsible parent, you will never have to worry about them being taken advantage of by one of these sicko's. Too many parents allow facebook and video games babysit their kids instead of taking time to build relationships with them. This is in no way directed at you, just responding so don't take it as such.

    @itsmyownopinion you rock!

  • plbullard Apr 6, 2012

    I have to say I proudly grew up in Johnston County and nothing of this was ever heard of then. I do not believe this is a Johnston County problem only. Look at all the recent cases that have been reported. I believe talking to you children and educating them about these problems could help. I am a parent who watches my children as much as possible, and I also know I cannot be with them every second. I have to trust with my guidance and prayer they will never have to meet anyone of this nature. If they do maybe my being over cautious will have paid off. My heart goes out to all of the children and their families.

  • ligonmaterial23 Apr 6, 2012

    With each claim the voltage needs to be turned up a notch on old sparky

  • pax2U Apr 6, 2012

    Prayers for all the victims. Lock the predators up! And for everyone's sake, when an allegation OR OBSERVATION is made that indicates an adult has weird boundaries with kids, INVESTIGATE IT! I can't believe that someone who worked with him didn't notice odd behavior by him- or by kids around him. My guess is those individuals were afraid to say anything, which is NO excuse! Somehow as a society we have to instill the duty to report and reports have to be taken seriously, and there can be no retribution to whomever reported in good faith. I am sick to think how many kids have been harmed by this guy, especially knowing that some OR ALL OF THEM would have been spared if someone had reported, investigated and dealt with him timely. Pedophiles don't start with sex. They groom their victims. The grooming behaviors are usually seen by others long before sex happens.

  • itsmyownopinion Apr 6, 2012

    There is no end to these. There's another story coming up: Breaking News: Erick Tyson Williams, a 28-year-old former basketball coach at Northwest Halifax High School, was arrested and charged Thursday with three counts of indecent liberties with students. They all have the right to presumption of innocence.

  • piloterror1 Apr 6, 2012

    oh my....this guy is gonna get all "contact" he could ever imagine....

  • itsmyownopinion Apr 6, 2012

    What is wrong in Johnston County? In another story an Ex-band director pleads guilty to sex crime charges. http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/10950325/ At least the plea will save the state some money in getting a conviction after a possible lengthy trial.

  • jcrew1979 Apr 6, 2012

    Exactly carroln!! You know that saying, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" -- well he is in for it BIG TIME!! What goes around comes around.

  • Rico Apr 6, 2012

    I totally agree, unless the article is about how the Johnston county school system has screwed everything up. Had they listened 4+ years ago when parents like myself (NOT A SINGLE MOM EITHER) ad reported Canally and his sexual issues and gross misconduct in the classroom.
    Once again evidence that supports that NC teachers are of the worst quality in the US...Teachers in Africa are better than what we have here.

  • jcrew1979 Apr 6, 2012

    Sick, sick, SICK individual.