Local News

Wilson Teaching Assistant Arrest Came After Long Investigation

Posted May 28, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Most people think teachers are some of the most trusted people in America, but Wilson deputies say a teaching assistant violated that trust by molesting a student on-campus. Evidence shows that school officials may have waited too long to come forward.

Deputies started investigating Wilson Beddingfield teacher's assistant Wayne Woodard two weeks ago, but his alleged molestation of a 17-year-old student began as early as October.

The victim, who is enrolled as an emotionally and mentally handicapped student, first told Beddingfield leaders as early as eight months ago, but deputies say principal Dexter Sims never reported the allegations to the sheriff's office or county administrators.

Superintendent Randolph Sessoms says he and other county leaders heard about the allegations through detectives, not through the school. Detectives say they found out from one of the victim's family members.

Sims referred WRAL back to the central office when we asked for an interview. Administrators fired Woodard Thursday night, but said they need more information before making a judgement about any other mistakes.

Teacher's assistants do have to meet standards, but those standards vary across North Carolina.

The state requires candidates to have a high school diploma or a G.E.D. Local school districts are required to train their assistants. Some counties, including Cumberland, require a test, training and teaching experience. A few counties require more.