Local News

Former Zebulon school headmaster surrenders on sexual battery charges

Posted May 29, 2012 5:25 p.m. EDT
Updated May 30, 2012 6:35 a.m. EDT

— The former headmaster of a Zebulon charter school surrendered Tuesday on sexual battery charges at the Wake County Magistrate's Office. Two female employees at East Wake Academy have accused Brandon Smith, 57, of Wendell, of inappropriately touching and talking to them.

He was charged with two counts of sexual battery and is due in court July 10.

Attorney James Hairston said his client "adamantly denies" any inappropriate contact or misconduct with teachers at the school.

But this isn't the first time Smith has faced such allegations. Court records show a teacher at Smith's former school, Githens Middle School in Durham, accused him of sexual harassment.

She filed a lawsuit against the Durham County School Board, but it was later dismissed.

"That's been resolved. That's 10 years old. He has worked at East Wake for 10 years without any problem," Hairston said. "Obviously from that time and the resolution of that case, he's re-established his reputation as an administrator and an educator."

Hairston said his client looks forward to his day in court.

Last month, Smith sued his accusers and East Wake Academy for defamation, civil conspiracy and emotional distress.

According to the lawsuit, one of the employees claims that Smith commented on how good she looked in her pants and then followed her into a lounge and "pulled the back of my pants out and down and stated, 'You don't mind if I look at your tattoo, do you?'"

The other employee accused Smith of making comments on several occasions about her sleeping with him, according to court documents.

Smith served as headmaster of the school for a decade before being fired in March shortly after the allegations surfaced.