Wake County Teacher Charged With Statutory Sexual Offenses
Posted August 11, 2003 6:34 a.m. EDT
ZEBULON, N.C. — Zebulon police have arrested a teacher at Zebulon Elementary School on charges that stem from an investigation into his alleged sexual conduct with a minor.
Christopher Louis Journigan, 30, has been charged with eight counts of first-degree statutory sexual offense. The charges are related to offenses that occurred from May 14, 2002, to July 17, 2003, while the victim was one of Journigan's students.
Journigan allegedly molested the victim, a 12-year-old male, for a period of time possibly as long as three years.
The Zebulon Police Department initiated the investigation after being notified by the Wake County Department of Social Services of the possible sexual abuse case.
According to police Chief Timothy P. Hayworth, the Wake County School System has been very cooperative during the investigation. Zebulon detectives have worked closely with members of the school security staff.
Journigan was suspended with pay from Zebulon Elementary last week.
Investigators say they are looking into the possibility that other children may be victims.
Journigan is being held on a $1 million bond. His family says he is innocent.
Parents at Zebulon Elementary, meanwhile, are stunned.
"It is scary and depressing to know it is a teacher," said Robin Williams. "How long has he been here? How long has it been going on? Why did we just find out now?"
Investigators said the teacher met the alleged victim on campus, but then took the relationship off campus, where he befriended the child's family, bought him expensive gifts and took him on out-of-state trips.
"Actually," said Hayworth, "at one point we believe the suspect took the child to Disney World."
The school system and the police are continuing to investigate.
"We are exploring the fact that other children may have ben victimized," Hayworth said. "We've begun to interview other children in his class, and we will continue the investigation. If so, there could be other charges pending."
Parent Faye Williams said she is pleased with how the school system has handled the situation.
"I know the school will do a pretty good job if they know something," she said. "They act."