Local News

Wake County Music Teacher Charged With Molesting Student

Posted February 23, 1999

— A music teacher with 15 years in the Wake County school system is charged with molesting one of his students.

Gary Lynn Powell, 42, has admitted to taking indecent liberties with a 10-year-old female student last week at Wake Forest Elementary School.

Authorities say Powell was holding an after-school tutoring session with the student. It is a session the principal says would not have been approved.

"I was not aware of this situation," says principal Craig Matthews. "And typically speaking, this would not be done with a male teacher and a female student being alone together."

While the incident took place at Wake Forest Elementary, the incident has affected two Wake County communities. In addition to Wake Forest Elementary, Powell also teaches music atWake Forest-Rolesville Middleand Zebulon Elementary schools.

Wake Forest investigators says they are not sure if there are more cases involving this veteran of the Wake County school system. They do say Powell's quick confession makes them suspicious.

"And somewhat he seemed apologetic," says Det. Jeff Leonard of the Wake Forest Police Department. "He said he knew it was wrong that he should not have done it. It's hard to think that maybe that's the only one, I guess. It does, it really does."

TheWake County School Systemis sending out a letter to parents of students attending all three schools to notify them of the situation.

The school system adds Powell was hired before background checks became a standard policy. According to his employment record, there have been no complaints against him.

Powell did not respond to phone calls made by WRAL.


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