Local News

Ex-band director faces student sex charges

Posted February 9, 2009 11:45 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— The former band director at Southern High School was charged Monday with having sex with students, police said.

Jamal Butler, 30, of Calibre Park Drive in Durham, surrendered to police Monday and was charged with two counts of sexual activity between school personnel and a student. Police said the charges involved alleged relationships between last July and Jan. 8 with two girls at the school, both of whom were 16 or older.

Butler resigned his position at Southern High, effective Jan. 29, said Michael Yarborough, spokesman for Durham Public Schools.

The school district conducted an internal investigation into the criminal allegations against Butler and cooperated with police, Yarborough said. The results of the internal review won't be released, he said.

Butler, who was released on a $20,000 bond, had been band director at the school since August 2007.

An unidentified man who answered the door at Butler's home Monday afternoon declined to comment on the case.

The charges stunned Southern High students.

"I was shocked. I thought he was a good man. I didn't know anything about it," senior Brandon Alexander said.

Jasmine Bailey, a former member of the school's flag team, said she had seen Butler befriend many female students.

"He was a good band director. He knew a lot about music and knew what he was doing," Bailey said. "When it came to females, I know he was very friendly."

North Carolina has one of the toughest laws on teachers, coaches and other school personnel having sex with students. Under the law, if a school employee is more than four years older than the student, having sexual relations with a student is a felony regardless of consent.