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Student charged in sex assault at Person High

Posted May 26, 2010

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— A 15-year-old student was sexually assaulted at Person High School last week, Person County Sheriff Dewey Jones said Wednesday.

Another student, George Christopher Stephens Jr., 17, of 35 Bywood Drive in Roxboro, has been charged with second-degree rape and first-degree kidnapping in the case. He was being held Wednesday in the Person County jail under a $45,000 bond.

Person County Sheriff's Office cruiser Sheriff: Deputies couldn't have stopped school assault

The girl told investigators that she was pulled into a janitor’s closet last Friday and sexually assaulted, Jones said. A video from a surveillance camera in the school showed Stephens and the girl going into the closet, the sheriff said, adding that Stephens has confessed to the crime.

"When he grabbed her by her waist, she says she told him stop and no, and he kept on," the girl's mother said Wednesday.

The girl and Stephens know each other from school but weren't involved in a relationship, Jones said.

Parents of other Person High students said they weren't notified of the incident until Tuesday. Principal Stephen Hester referred all questions to Person County Schools Superintendent Larry Cartner, who said students weren't in any immediate danger and the delay allowed investigators to do their job.

"Students are safe. This was an unpredictable incident," Cartner said, adding Person High doesn't have security problems.

The door to the janitor's closet was unlocked because of an assignment Stephens was given Friday morning, Cartner said, adding that he couldn't elaborate. Stephens was being supervised, but he wasn't gone for any length of time that would have raised suspicion, the superintendent said.

"School officials reacted swiftly and appropriately. This was handled in a matter of minutes," he said.

Stephens is scheduled to appear in court on June 15, and Cartner said Person County Schools would pursue the maximum penalty against him.

The girl's mother said, however, that she isn't satisfied with security at the school.

"This is my baby. You send them to school to protect them. They have (deputy) sheriffs there, and she's supposed to be safe, and they failed on that part," she said. "She loves school, and she wants to go as long as he's not there."

Three school resource officers patrol Person High, and Jones said the deputies handled the incident as best they could.

"I wish we could prevent anything like this, but I don't know of anything at this point on our part that we could have (done)," he said.

112 Comments

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  • SR87 May 31, 7:12 p.m.

    more supervision? really? they are high school aged students ... what are you going to do? hold their hands and make sure that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing at all times? No, you cant! I graduated from Person, and yes it is understaffed, but even if there were enough staff, you just cant watch every student that is there every time they go somewhere. EC or not. I am slightly confused as to why the child was doing something where the janitor closet had to be unlocked. when i was there they never had children doing what the janitors should do. so mr cartner should explain what the child was doing. as far as everyone pulling the race card .. give me a break! if the kids had been white it would have been just as big of a deal as this! not everyone cares about race quit trying to cause more trouble by saying it has something to do with race because you know good and well that it doesnt! and for crying out loud the boy was 17. he knew what he was doing & admitted he did i

  • liltarheelmommy May 27, 10:48 a.m.

    This is only "hear say" but I have heard that "the video shows them going into the closet together (no sign of her struggling), and were in there for less than a minute, and upon exit, she showed no sign of anything wrong." This happened on May 21st, but the parents of other students there weren't notified about it until days later. These were 2 EC teens. Where was the supervision?? And not only do they have security cameras but, they also have "security personnel" there. There are WAY TOO MANY kids in that school! When I went to school there, we had a "security guard" at the school but, he sat in his truck in the parking lot all day, unless he was called inside of the building! If there isn't gonna be supervision at all times, why not have someone there to watch the cameras during the day?? These are someones children, they are supposed to feel safe at school!! Is it gonna take something worse than this to get someone to wake up and fix the Person County School System?????????????????

  • afwmeek0721 May 27, 10:35 a.m.

    Okay I just have to say why does race have anything to do with this? I read 5 different comments about people thinking these kids' skin color has a dern thing to do with any of this. I don't care if they are white black yellow or purple the point is little kids now and days are hot behinds and don't know what the heck they are doing. This is wrong I don't care if the kid was pink. That's point. Not the color of his skin. Geez get over it!

  • thepeopleschamp May 27, 9:39 a.m.

    dacdak, you are a tax payer? Welcome aboard. I, as a fellow taxpayer, do not want a principal of a 1700 student h.s. watching a camera all day. Beleive it or not, they have a huge work load and expecting them to watch cameras all day is unrealistic.

  • poohpdoo2002 May 27, 9:04 a.m.

    You have two kids that are special needs. They are left unsupervised. Even though they have special needs, they are still teenagers and still have raging hormones. How they got found out? That's anyone's guess and it will probably come out in the news soon, but the young man did admit to having sex with her. Whether or not he knew that having sex with someone who is considered a minor by law is considered a criminal--I doubt very seriously if he knew. The point is, they were not being supervised like they should have been. The principal tried to say that they were not left alone long enough to get into anything. Well, duh! Obviously, that is not true. It was long enough for them to meet up, walk into the closet and engage in sex. Kids will be kids and they're gonna try to get away with as much as they can. But the principal and staff who were responsible for the supervision of these young people should DEFINITELY be held accountable for allowing this to happen.

  • Alexia May 26, 7:58 p.m.

    He held her waist and she went? No kicking and screaming? Is the closet sound-proof?

  • 82ndAAHeel May 26, 7:49 p.m.

    these kids are on the occupational course of study. The are required to perform a certain number of hours to graduate. I laugh at the people that think he needs to be supervised. Of course he does. But there is no money to pay for all the folks needed to be job coaches lol. If the general public really knew how screwed up the OCS is they would...........fill in the blank. After 12 years in spe. ed. We need trade schools like they have in the Northeast and I have lived here all my life. Daily these kids curse out managers at local establishments that are nice enough to hire the students. Glad to see other counties are having issues like Wake.

  • ash138430 May 26, 6:36 p.m.

    I was reading all the comments and saw how someone was complaining about race....THAT IS GOLO. Watch the different if it was someone was white. It would be fewer comments and less harsh comments. It happens over and over again because people sit a desk and type with no accountability for what they write. People who would swear they love other races in person. Funny!
    No one knows the real story so don’t judge yet. Don't play a jury until all the facts are out.

  • chap5352 May 26, 6:33 p.m.

    dacdak I agree that they should be watching these kids closer. Even after this happened, there was 4 EC kids outside the school without supervision? hmmm doesn't look like the school officials have learned anything.

  • dacdak May 26, 6:29 p.m.

    Anitov, Ahhhhhh YES. They would not have to gather evidence if they were paying attention to the camera and the safety of these children. why did they get camera's for? So they did not have to pay attention to them. Are you telling tax payers that their money is not is not being "PAID" Attention to. I as a tax payer has the right to know that our money is being well spent and careers are being careers and not coffee breaks.

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