Local News

Former Johnston teacher charged with child sex abuse

Posted March 1, 2012 9:56 a.m. EST
Updated March 16, 2012 6:01 p.m. EDT

— Clayton police on Wednesday arrested a former Johnston County teacher on charges that he sexually abused a teenage boy numerous times over a 19-month span.

Paul Clifton Canally, 29, of 148 Buchanan Lane, was charged with five felony counts of statutory rape, five counts of felony indecent liberties with a child and eight misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. He was also charged with 13 felony counts of third-degree sexual exploitation related to child pornography seized during a search of his home.

The boy was 14 and 15 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, which police said occurred between April 2010 and last December at Canally's home. According to warrants, the boy went to police in February and told them graphic details about the alleged abused he endured.

Canally was a seventh-grade science teacher at Archer Lodge Middle School from August 2007 to July 2009, when he resigned for personal reasons, Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms said.

Sessoms said there were no written complaints against Canally during his tenure, and the school district took no disciplinary actions against him.

Police seized two computers, a portable flash drive, a mobile phone, a digital camera and other items from Canally's home during their search. 

Canally was being held Thursday in the Johnston County jail under a $1,020,000 secured bond.

Bill Kearns, who lives near Canally, described his neighbor as "the nicest guy in the world."

"And that's what's so alarming," Kearns said. "(It's) kind of strange, always having young boys, kids over to his house – parties and barbecues, things like that. We did not feel good about it."

Some neighbors said they felt uncomfortable letting their children hang around Canally's home.