Local News

Harnett teacher resigns amid student sex investigation

Posted December 14, 2010

— A former Western Harnett High School teacher has been charged with having sex with one of his students, officials said Tuesday.

Rodney Donnell Ellis, 38, of 839 Brookhannah Court in Fuquay-Varina, was charged last Thursday with sex offense with a student. He was released on a $10,000 bond.

Harnett County Schools Superintendent Phil Ferrell said Ellis resigned Nov. 29, two days after Ferrell asked law enforcement to investigate an allegation against Ellis.

Ferrell said the mother of a Western Harnett High student called him Thanksgiving weekend to report that Ellis had sex with her 17-year-old daughter in her Angier home the day after Thanksgiving.

Ellis started teaching at Western Harnett High this year, following two years at Harnett Central High School. He was a special-needs teacher and was an assistant coach for the football team.

Western Harnett High School sign Harnett teacher resigns amid student sex investigation

Records show that Ellis has been a teacher for 12 years.

Ferrell said he was "certainly appalled" by the allegation, noting that teachers have a position of trust for students and parents. In this case, he said, that trust has been violated.

No one was home at Ellis' house on Tuesday. A neighbor, who didn't want her name used, called him "a super nice guy" who lives with his wife and two elementary school-age children.


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  • victoriaflint53 Dec 17, 2010

    these comments are ridiculous. do you people have lives? if this was your 17 yr old daughter would you be blaming here for some 38yr old man having sex with her? no you wouldnt! so before you go calling this girl a skank and saying she deserves punishment for something she had no control over you should really think about what if this was me or my family involved. i know the girl very well and i know the reputation she had. that doesnt mean she wanted to have sex with him. so lil miss junior at harnett central maybe you should get all the facts before you run your mouth. and as far as it being consensual if it was, that doesnt matter one bit, shes 17 hes 38 does everyone see the big picture here. He was a trusted adult and he more than broke that trust.

  • nl199416 Dec 16, 2010

    Hahahah,yall have no idea what they are talking about. Ok,first of all everyone I am a Junior at Harnett Central High School and have been going there since freshman year and know Ellis and the girl very well. The girl that yall are talking about is a big skank around school, everyone knows she is its not a suprise. She wanted it, she's not innocent like yall think she is and neither is he. Yes he was a nice teacher, but he broke the teacher oath and had sex with a minor. And, oww also cheated on his wife and two kids so he isn't innocent either. Everyone just needs to calm down with this because there are more important things in this world than this. Just from now on make sure your kids aren't hoes and everything will be okay.

  • josephlawrence43 Dec 15, 2010

    Too many people are trying to put the cart before the horse. The allegation was made--and an investigation is in process. Before jumping to conclusions as to guilt, wait for these to be completed. And, as a reference, recall the incident of the 3 Duke LaCrosse players. There are a bunch of questions that have to be answered yet--.

  • smalldogsrule Dec 15, 2010

    If this girl is over the age of consent (16 in NC) AND, the teacher is NOT a teacher AT THE SAME SCHOOL (she goes to a different school than the one he teaches at) What crime can he be charged with?

  • YourMom Dec 15, 2010

    If the student could be considered an adult... and she consented to the affair... what crime could she be charged with?

  • smashedglass Dec 15, 2010

    this really shocks me. i knew him when i went to hchs, and for the record, i never saw him ever look at girls in a funny way. but hey, people suprize me all the time. anyone is capable of anything.

  • djofraleigh Dec 14, 2010

    What is the principal and teachers of this school saying about this?""

    They can't talk about personnel matters unless they too want to lose their jobs.

  • lovinnc72 Dec 14, 2010

    The blame can not totally be placed on the "girl". As many of you make comments though please remember both families that are involved.I can only imagine the torment the wife of the "accused" is going through as well as the mother of the girl.My prayers go out to both and I hope this issue is resolved fairly and quickly!

  • carrboroyouth Dec 14, 2010

    I disagree - she's 17, close enough to 18 and practically an adult.

    Stop acting like all teens are just lost creatures that have no idea of consequence or responsibility. We DO. If he did not use force or manipulation (eg. holding her grade over her head) then I really don't see how you can't place blame on the girl as well.

  • anne53ozzy Dec 14, 2010

    That is why we call them "girls". They are kids. He is not. We all know about the turbulent issues of adolescent kids and their risk taking involves many areas, including sexuality. Those who work with these kids should be and are held to a higher standard than that of the child involved. Grow up, people and stop blaming this girl. It is a well known fact that many young girls will seek a father figure in life and teachers should well know this and be alert to these types of behaviors, not prey on them.