Fayetteville, N.C. — A former Cumberland County principal said Monday that he wants his old job back now that child sex charges have been dismissed against him.
Ronald Thomas Parker, 59, was charged on June 10, 2009, with statutory sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a child. Authorities alleged that he touched a 3-year-old girl in his Asbury Road home in late May of last year and that she contracted a sexually transmitted disease.
Prosecutors dismissed the charges Friday because of insufficient evidence, authorities said.
"I was relieved. I was very, very relieved," Parker said.
Having the charges hang over his head for almost a year was like a nightmare, he said.
"You're ashamed to even show your face. That was tough," he said. "There were probably three months when I didn't even walk out of the house because I was so ashamed."
His church, Center Baptist, stood behind him, giving him the strength to hold on, he said.
"I have learned to pray a whole lot harder than I've ever had to pray," he said.
Parker declined to talk about the 3-year-old or how he knows her, but he said he believes that investigators jumped the gun on filing charges against him.
"I thought it was something of a quick investigation, too quick," he said. "You're happy that it's over, but then again, you're a bit frustrated. Why did it happen?"
Cumberland County Schools reassigned Parker after his arrest from his position as principal at Eastover-Central Elementary School to a job at the school district's operations center, where he filled textbook orders.
School district spokeswoman Theresa Perry said Monday that administrators haven't decided whether Parker can return to the classroom.
Parker, who has been an educator for 38 years and headed Eastover-Central Elementary for four years, said seeing some of his former students recently tore him up inside, and he wants to get back to working in a school.
"I just said, 'Good luck on your tests,' and they saw me and they came up and every one of them hugged me," he said. "It just broke my heart to see those kids, to miss them the way I've missed them over the last year."
“All I ask is the school system be fair to me,” he said.