Local News

Rowan County Teacher Charged With Sex Offenses

Posted June 2, 2001

— A Rowan County middle school teacher has been charged with taking indecent liberties with a female student.

Howard Boyd ``Trey'' Coffie III, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Erwin Middle School, was released from the Rowan County Detention Center after posting a $2,500 bond.

Lt. John Sifford of the Rowan County Sheriff's office did not release details of the incident, but said it was a one-time event that occurred during Coffie's class.

On May 11, the student talked to a guidance counselor, who contacted the school resource officer to begin an investigation. Coffie was arrested Wednesday.

Howard Hurt, associate superintendent for curriculum with the Rowan-Salisbury Schools, said he is interviewing students and investigating rumors of similar incidents.

Hurt said the student reported physical contact occurred, but Coffie has denied the charges.

Coffie has been teaching at the school for five years, schools spokeswoman Kathy Walters said. He was suspended with pay last week pending an investigation. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

A Florida criminal records check showed that Coffie had one drug charge against him before being hired in Rowan County, The Salisbury Post reported. Orlando Police charged Coffie with possession of cocaine in 1992, but the charges were dropped as part of a pre-trial diversion, a process in which the accused avoids conviction as part of a plea bargain.

Coffie is the second Rowan County teacher charged with a sex offense in the past two weeks. Jason Lee Randolph Shafer, a fifth-grade teacher at Landis Elementary School, was arrested last week and charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor

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