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Search warrants obtained in case against Raleigh school, teacher charged in student sex case

Former students of the Montessori School of Raleigh who allege sexual abuse are suing their former Raleigh teacher and the school.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Former students of the Montessori School of Raleigh who allege sexual abuse are suing their former Raleigh teacher and the school.

Nicholas Conlon Smith, 36, of 7401 Longstreet Drive, is accused of raping a student while he was working as a teacher at the school and is also charged with several counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

The alleged crimes took place in 2011 and 2012.

In search warrants obtained by WRAL News Thursday, one student claimed to have consensual sex with Smith on campus and at her parents' home.

The lawsuit revealed that the two victims are sisters. It accuses the school of negligence and of ignoring complaints about Smith's inappropriate behavior.

Three parties are named in the 22-page lawsuit: Smith, the head of the school, Nancy Errichetti, and the school itself.

The sisters and their parents are seeking compensation for what their attorneys call "severe psychological injuries, personal injuries, and egregious emotional and physical pain and suffering."

Robby Jessup, who is representing the family, said these types of cases are not easy to handle.

"Anytime you work with cases like this, it makes it hard to sleep at night," he said.

The lawsuit says Erichetti and the school received specific reports from staff about Smith's inappropriate behavior with at least one of the girls, including holding her hand and being alone with her in a hotel room on a school trip. It also states that her parents noticed red flags from Smith's behavior and reported them.

"They feel betrayed and deeply let down by the school," Jessup said.

But the lawsuit claims Errichetti did not believe the parents and failed to investigate.

"Our lawsuit details allegations that pertain to a pattern of abuse that went on for years. And a pattern of knowledge on the part of the school," Jessup said.

The lawsuit says the sexual abuse happened at school, on school trips and in the girls' home.

In a statement, the school denies any wrongdoing.

"We are aware that a civil lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the victims and have filed an answer to the suit denying all wrongdoing and denying any knowledge of sexual misconduct," the school said in a statement.

"I think it was the deepest betrayal that could've occurred," Jessup said.

Smith is being held under a $3 million bond.


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