Corinth Holders coach faces trial on indecent liberties charge
Posted May 24, 2012
Smithfield, N.C. — District Court Judge Andy Corbett decided Thursday to take a Corinth Holders High School coach and teacher to trial on charges he took indecent liberties with a 16-year-old student.
James Joseph McNamara II has been suspended with pay from his job with the Johnston County Schools since March, when allegations surfaced about an encounter with a female student.
That teen testified in a probable cause hearing that McNamara drove her home and then touched her and kissed her inside the house.
Prosecutors say the teen's story is backed up by school surveillance tape and McNamara's cellphone records.
But an attorney for McNamara said the student accuser tells lies and that there is no physical evidence showing that he was inside her home.
"There is not one person in that subdivision that puts him there," said defense attorney Jack O'Hale.
School system officials say McNamara has admitted to driving the girl home, but says he never took indecent liberties with her.
"(He said) he watched her go in the house and went straight home," said Robin Little, chief personnel officer for Johnston County Schools.
When the allegations first surfaced, the teen told school officials that she had never had any contact with McNamara outside of school. The student said she lied to stay out of trouble and to protect McNamara.
The young woman admitted to having a crush on the teacher and said he was easy to talk to. She also said she was drinking vodka at the time of their encounter to calm her nerves.
Prosecutor Kelli Sandling countered arguments that the girl made questionable choices by saying the teacher and adult should be held to a higher standard.
"The defendant had the time, motive and opportunity to commit this offense," Sandling said.
She said he's the one who is not being honest.
"He wanted to take her home, and he knew it was wrong because he did not tell anyone," she said.
Since his arrest, students and their parents have rallied in support of the man they call "Coach Mac," whom they say is incapable of the kind of behavior the teen accuser described.
Family friend Cheryl Kemp said the news is devastating.
"He is getting married on Sunday, and I had hoped to put closure to this," she said.