Local News

Harnett teacher resigns amid student sex investigation

Posted December 14, 2010 1:49 p.m. EST
Updated December 14, 2010 6:35 p.m. EST

— 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.

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.