Local News

Christian school administrator faces child sex charges

Posted April 28, 2011
Updated April 29, 2011

— Cumberland County investigators on Thursday charged the administrator of a Christian academy with sex crimes involving a minor.

Craig Steven Wheeler, 49, of 333 Baylor Drive in Fayetteville, was charged with 120 counts, including committing sexual acts with a student, statutory sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a minor.

During a brief court appearance Friday afternoon, Wheeler asked for a court-appointed attorney. He is being held in the Cumberland County jail under a $5.87 million bond.

Investigators said Wheeler, the administrator of Eastover Christian Academy, engaged in inappropriate behavior with a 14-year-old girl while at school on numerous occasions between June 2008 and September 2009.

The girl only recently told her mother, who alerted authorities, said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

Wheeler had set up a makeshift residence at the school, where the encounters allegedly occurred, Tanna said.

Eastover Christian Academy Christian school administrator faces child sex charges

"From what we had learned, he was estranged from his wife and that he moved his home there and also was working inside the building at the time the encounters allegedly occurred," she said. "The encounters supposedly happened on campus during class time, when the two were alone inside the building in another room."

Officials at the school said their attorney has advised them not to comment.

Residents of the Eastover community said they were shocked to learn of the allegations.

Investigators have asked the parents of other students at the school to discuss the case with their children to see if anyone else might have been victimized, Tanna said.

"We don't know if there are any other victims. If there are, we'd like to know about them," she said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • ncdixie1 Apr 29, 2011

    He set up a makeshift residence at school and that didn't red flag anyone?

  • CarolinaGirl2 Apr 29, 2011

    Disgusting... whether in a christian, public or charter school its disgusting and wrong. This is happening more and more, parents need to get more involved and have a much greater presence in their childrens lives AND schools.

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Apr 29, 2011

    I'm sure he convinced himself he was in love with the girl so that he could justify his lust. Parents have a right to worry about who's taking care of their kids. When I was growing up, society didn't put up with sin. Perverts knew what would happen if they were caught. Now we make excuses for all sorts of evil. The criminals are the victims. Liberal notions have created so much evil in this world.

  • Jammer512 Apr 29, 2011

    Hereandnow99 - so God should just take away our freedom of choice and make us mindless doers of good, that would solve all the problems of the world, no personal responsibility just do what you want and some "GOD" will stop you form doing wrong. Humans have free will and there for the choice to do right or wrong, unfortunately this man chose wrong and not good.

  • corlasstar Apr 29, 2011

    there are no words to descrbe how i feel being my daughter went there at one point

  • birksraiders Apr 29, 2011

    This is horrible, Coming from a Christian Child care background, I can't believe this could happen. In such a small facility and community, it just blows my mind. I've read the postings of everyone thus far and can see the pain in your words, the dis-belief. A couple cause me to think though; hattieb2001--could this be the result of his abuse as a child? and now this is his acting out? I still hate that it happened, in fact I feel sick right now. And as for hereandnow99-- Your just a freakin (insert an inappropriate word here), obviously you are not a Christian and are completely lost yourself. If you were a Christian you would see God in this. My question would be why it wasn't stopped earlier by the investigators and not allowed to carry on for 15 or more months?

  • NCSU2311 Apr 29, 2011

    Most 'christians' hide behind the title and practice their hypocrisy behind closed doors. It really makes it hard for the sincere ones that actually work hard to practice what they preach.
    GOLO member since August 21, 2007
    April 29, 2011 9:41 a.m.
    Report abuse

    Ive never met a "real Christian". I know a BUNCH of fake ones. BUT as long as you "believe" you can sin all you want. Thats what they tell me when I call out their hypocrisy. Its mindboggling.

  • smaki1252 Apr 29, 2011

    While I agree that this type of violation of children in our schools, churches or civic organizations is vile and sickening, I doubt that the problem will decrease in frequency. Whereas hetrosexuals prefer the opposite sex and homosexuals prefer the same sex, pedophiles prefer children. Period. The best avenue for gaining access to children is to work or volunteer where children are plentiful. It breaks my heart that children have to replace some of their innocence with awareness that there really are monsters in their presence.

  • commonsensical Apr 29, 2011

    Most 'christians' hide behind the title and practice their hypocrisy behind closed doors. It really makes it hard for the sincere ones that actually work hard to practice what they preach.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 29, 2011

    Here we are, in a Christian school, with a 49 year old man having sexual intercourse with a 14 year old child...for well over a year.

    Does this not just create a hugely burning question inside of believers? Does anyone ask “where was this child’s god”?

    I guess the answer is the same...every time this happen. Clearly, such a god is apathetic, sadistic or...non-existent. In any case, such a being is not worthy of worshipping...in my book at least.

    I mean, if you knew this was happening (or was going to happen, as in the case of a deity)...and you could stop this 49 year old from continually raping this 14 year old...would you just turn away?...let it happen?...time after time after time? Or, would you prevent it? Stop it?