Local News

Teacher's Assistant Faces Statutory Rape Charges

Posted May 17, 2007
Updated September 24, 2007

— Cumberland County sheriff's deputies arrested a Gray's Creek Middle School teaching assistant Wednesday and charged him with nine felony charges of statutory rape and other sex offenses.

Authorities said a student at the school told a teacher that she had a relationship with Joel Vincent Hurley, 28, of 1261 Thelbert Drive in Fayetteville, for a short period of time. A school official then called the sheriff's office.

Deputies charged Hurley with two counts of statutory rape, two counts of statutory sex offense, two counts of sexual activity by school personnel with a student and three counts of indecent liberties by school personnel with a student.

The school system would not talk specifically about Hurley's employment status but said that in situations such as this, the accused is usually suspended with pay.

"We take very seriously the safety of children and employees in the school district," Assistant Superintendent Wanda McPhaul said.

Hurley also works part-time for the Cumberland County Parks and Recreation Department. The department suspended him without pay and has sent him a notice of dismissal. He has to appeal within a week or be fired.

He is currently in the Cumberland County Detention Center under a $75,000 bond. His probable cause hearing is scheduled for June 6.


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  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr May 18, 2007

    I just checked to make sure. He was charged with statutory rape and having sex with a student. The latter is only a class G felony, while the statutory rape is a class B1. That's a big difference for sentencing purposes.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr May 18, 2007

    The statutory rape charge is a higher class felony, he was charged with the right thing. He was also charged with sexual activity with a student.

  • Myra May 18, 2007

    Under North Carolina Law, it is a FELONY for a teacher to have sex with a student. Age and consent is not a defense or excuse. Therefore, he should be charged under the appropriate NC General Statute of teacher having sex with a student. My bet is he will be '''allowed''' to plead down to taking indecent liberties with a minor and get probation.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr May 17, 2007

    Since he got a statutory rape charge she is 15 at the oldest. If she was 16 it wouldn't be statutory rape, even if she was a student. He would have been charged under another statute.

  • livin2fish May 17, 2007

    we have to hope there was indeed sufficent evidence to arrest this teachers assistant. It would seem and I hope are justice system would not arrest someone without proof of some sort. The age would also seem to have something to do with it. Even if the student is 16 it would still make this very wrong. I hope the arrest was made with proof of wrong doing. The teacher assistant will never be looked at the same and there will always be a question in everyone's mind. If there is no evidence other than a students testamony then the situation has been mishandled by the local law enforcement. Why you ask, because no proof he should have been pulled in private and told to stay away from the school and sent home with pay. He now has been plastered all over the news and has been labeled for life. If indeed there is evidence and he is guilty he should be harshly punished

  • Steve Crisp May 17, 2007

    I am not even going to try and justify this guy's actions should he have actually engaged in a sexual relationship with an underage student, but...

    Keep in mind two things. One, though there may be significantly more evidence involved (perhaps even a confession,) right now all we know is that a student made the claim that he or she had sex with a teacher. Keep in mind also that under today's climate, often all it takes is a claim for a DA or police to bring charges.

    And two, how old is the girl? As abhorrant as it is for a teacher to have sex with a student in their care, there ARE kids in middle school who are 16 years old. So is the statutory rape charge predicated on the student/teacher relationship or the age factor? It makes a huge difference since a 16 year old is consentual under the existing law.

  • barrelgurl01 May 17, 2007

    everyone makes mistakes and everyone is one away from being put in jail.