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Jail sentence stands for ex-headmaster of Zebulon charter school

Posted October 1, 2013

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— The 120-day jail sentence for the former headmaster of a Zebulon charter school convicted Monday on a sexual battery charge will stand, the judge in the case ruled Tuesday.

Brandon Smith, the top administrator of East Wake Academy, was found guilty of the charge, as well as a charge of assault on a female in connection with allegations by a former teacher who said Smith pulled down her pants when she worked at the school in 2011.

Superior Court Judge Carl Fox initially sentenced Smith to two 60-day sentences to run consecutively, but defense attorneys filed two motions asking the judge to reconsider the punishment because both charges relate to one single act.

One motion asked the court to arrest judgment on the assault charge, and another asked that the two sentences run concurrent to one another.

Fox denied both motions, saying there was no statutory requirement to change the sentence.

In addition to his four-month jail sentence, Smith must also register as a sex offender.

Smith was highly respected in the Zebulon community for his work in making East Wake Academy a school of excellence.

He was fired last year from the position he held for nearly a decade after allegations from two teachers that he inappropriately touched them and made sexual remarks to them.

Smith also faces additional charges of sexual battery and assault stemming from another teacher's allegations that he hugged her while he was sexually aroused.

He also went to trial on those charges, but the jury in the case deadlocked on verdicts.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita said Tuesday she is still deciding whether to retry him on those charges.

Attorneys also talked about a possible plea deal with Smith, but he rejected the idea.

He maintains his innocence in both cases.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • westernwake1 Oct 3, 2013

    These are not charges. These are claims in a civil suit. Very different material.

    Let me ask one question. As an employer would you hire someone in an administrative position if their previous employer was held liable in civil court for sexual harassment claims due to his behavior?

    Obviously the claims against DCBE were upheld in this civil case by the judge and not dismissed. This has the obvious legal implication that Smith is not faultless in the case.

    If all the Plantiffs' claims had been dismissed in the case as being factually incorrect or groundless then this would be an entirely different situation - and would fully clear Smith and his employer - but this did not happen.

    The 'negligent infliction of emotional distress' claim against Smith was dismissed on the legal grounds that his behavior was 'intentional' and not 'negligent'. Not exactly the same that he did not do the behavior.

  • ashwednesday36 Oct 3, 2013

    Read my posts....I worked for this guy and left BECAUSE of him (at EWA). I am no fan. However, posting that these cases were not dismissed is counterproductive to the overall cause of getting this guy out of a supervisor role. This is not about "right" or "wrong." Just because I paid for my wife's gas and my gas at the gas station yesterday does not make me "right" about gas because she got it for "free." The Durham incident resulted in charges against Smith being dismissed. Was he guilty? Probably, if we go on this evidence now. I saw the man, with my own eyes, do some pretty despicable stuff. I was also the focus of some of his ire. I have emails from him that came close to landing in the hands of the DA in this case. In short, I am no fan....but the facts of the Durham case are the facts. The dismissal is more a blight on the face of our legal system than it is about being right or wrong. However, posting things here that are not true is just as wrong as what Smith did.

  • westernwake1 Oct 3, 2013

    Allowing the majority of the claims against the school system (DCBE) to stand when the case involves the behavior of your administrative employee is obviously an indictment of Smith's improper behavior. Keep in mind that 95%+ of the claims in sexual harassment lawsuits are against the employer and not the individual employee whose behavior caused the suit. That "Defendant Smith's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to Plaintiff's claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress is GRANTED" is nearly meanless in context of the entire civil suit. If you are trying to make the case that this makes Smith somehow faultless in context of this civil suit then you are wrong.

    That these claims against DCBE stood and then had to get settled/sealed should have served as a red flag regarding hiring Smith in any administrative position.

    P.S. This is not the only suit. Search a paid legal database.

  • ashwednesday36 Oct 3, 2013

    Once again, against Smith the charges were dismissed and such is stated clearly in the passage you have quoted. .....Also for the reasons explained above, Defendant Smith's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to Plaintiff's claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress is GRANTED and all of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Smith are hereby DISMISSED." The only charges left in place were against DCBE. If your assertion is that some of these charges stood based on this quote then you have again spoken to your own credibility. My reason for not doing a cut and paste was that there is too much to paste....however, dismissed is dismissed.

  • westernwake1 Oct 3, 2013

    Let's read the Conclusion (Section III) from Leagle.

    "For the reasons explained above, Defendant DCBE's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED IN PART to the extent that Plaintiff's claims against Defendant DCBE for wrongful discharge under the NCEEPA and for punitive damages are hereby DISMISSED. Defendant DCBE's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED IN PART with respect to Plaintiff's claims against Defendant DCBE for sexual harassment, retaliation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent supervision/retention. Also for the reasons explained above, Defendant Smith's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to Plaintiff's claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress is GRANTED and all of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Smith are hereby DISMISSED."

    Your section 6 is just part of the list.

    Some claims granted and other dismissed. Paid legal databases show the suit settled and sealed after the judge's decision.

  • ashwednesday36 Oct 3, 2013

    Taken from para 6 from the decision: Accordingly, to the extent Plaintiff seeks punitive damages against Defendant DCBE, it is immune from such an award. Defendant DCBE's Motion to Dismiss is therefore GRANTED to the extent that Plaintiff's claims for punitive damages are hereby DISMISSED.

    Taken from para 6B: Accordingly, Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Smith for negligent infliction of emotional distress must fail. Defendant Smith's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is therefore GRANTED and all claims asserted by Plaintiff against Defendant Smith are hereby DISMISSED.15

  • ashwednesday36 Oct 3, 2013

    Johansen's (form UNC CH) review was not the final determination of the case, it was a review of the motions to dismiss. The actual case, available online, was heard after the review. Cut and paste this into a search: Barbier v. Durham County Board of Education, 225 F. Supp. 2d 617 (M.D.N.C. 2002)---- The actual court case is reviewed at "Leagle" and should be the first result on google. The case was heard in NC District Court in August 2002. When this first started I, too, posted many times that the case was NOT dismissed. I was wrong and we all lose credibility if we do not do the research to substantiate what we post. I don't like the guy either and I worked at the school while he was there, but the charges were dismissed in this ruling.

  • westernwake1 Oct 2, 2013

    "SOunds like the court system / jury will back a woman no matter what. We as a society have gotten out of control. We are turning things that are not crimes into crimes, I can only see this getting worse. I long for the days of pre internet, no cell phones and simpler times, but they are gone. So we are stuck with nosey people that want to get other people in trouble." - lazyrebel

    Sounds like you believe that it is acceptable for over 100 women to be sexual harassed by their boss in the workplace. After all, it's just fun and games at work to be subject daily to sexual battery and assault. This is just fun for the boys, not a crime. What's the problem with smacking a few rears, hugging women with your erection, or pulling down their pants.

    Back in simpler times, a mob of husbands would appear at the school and there would be no need for a trial.

  • westernwake1 Oct 2, 2013

    "westernwake1--Smith had his charges (well, Durham Schools had the lawyer for this case you noted and these education attorneys are worse than Smith) dismissed."

    Read the link. You are incorrect. The judge rejected the school system's attempt to dismiss the civil case charges. The judge DENIED the Plantiff's (Smith and Durham BOE) attempt to dismiss the charges. You need to read the link and information correctly. The civil case continued to moved forward in the court system. I also cross-referenced this in a paid legal database to confirm the case was never dismissed.

    I do not know what the settlement was... but the civil case moved forward in the court system and was not dismissed.

  • ashwednesday36 Oct 2, 2013

    westernwake1--Smith had his charges (well, Durham Schools had the lawyer for this case you noted and these education attorneys are worse than Smith) dismissed. Cut and paste the case into a search and the actually case you will see was dismissed in 2002. Now everyone has said Smith was headmaster at EWA for 10 years. Now I wonder if he filled out his application properly. Did he note that he had a trial pending? When did he actually start at EWA? Did they ask him? Did they do a background check? The board is responsible too.