WRAL Investigates

Teen sex offender banned from high school

Posted November 23, 2010 5:53 p.m. EST
Updated November 23, 2010 8:49 p.m. EST

— A 19-year-old senior at South Johnston High School has been banned from going on school property after school system officials recently learned he was convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery.

James Lawrence, an attorney for Johnston County Schools, said Tuesday that school system officials were unaware that Keith Pressley had been sentenced to 24 months of probation after being found guilty last month of allegations involving a 14-year-old girl.

They became aware of the matter after he was suspended two weeks ago when a girl accused him of touching her on a school bus.

Under North Carolina state law, sex offenders are prohibited from going on school property, but they are allowed to attend school if they have consent from the local school board.

Terri Sessoms, a spokeswoman for Johnston County Schools, said there is no record that Pressley ever asked for permission.

Student privacy laws prevent the school system from commenting further about Pressley’s case, including his student status, she said.

But Sessoms said officials and school system attorneys decided Tuesday to limit access after consulting with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, State Board of Education and other local school board attorneys on the matter.

Pressley’s aunt and guardian, Priscilla Randolph, said he is not a predator and deserves an education, despite his past.

Randolph said her nephew had been involved with a 14-year-old girl and the girl’s parents reported him to police when they found out.

“He’s just a young guy that got caught up at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Randolph said. “Once he found out that she was as young as she was, he left her alone.”

Department of Correction records indicate that Pressley was convicted in 2008 of a misdemeanor trespassing charge and also convicted last year of possession of stolen goods, also a misdemeanor.