Local News

Sex abuse charges mount against ex-teacher as victims speak out

Posted March 19, 2012 9:31 a.m. EDT
Updated March 19, 2012 7:24 p.m. EDT

— A sixth person has come forward to accuse a former Johnston County science teacher of sexual abuse, Clayton police said Monday.

Paul Clifton Canally, 29, of 148 Buchanan Lane, Clayton, faces more than three dozen charges, including six counts of statutory rape, two counts of sex with a student, seven counts of indecent liberties and eight counts of sexual battery for offenses dating to 2008 that involve boys under age 16.

Canally was arrested three weeks ago on charges that he sexually abused a teenage boy numerous times between April 2010 and last December. Two days after his arrest, police filed charges of statutory rape and soliciting a child by computer against him in connection with a second boy.

Three more boys then came forward. Two of the alleged victims were students at Archer Lodge Middle School when Canally taught there, investigators said.

Canally was in the Johnston County jail Monday evening under a $2.63 million bond. His defense attorney, James Levinson, declined to comment on the case.

According to search warrants, the alleged victims told investigators that Canally met them through school, continued to connect with them on Facebook and asked them to start "hanging out" at his house, where he molested and took photos of them.

Neighbors say Canally was friendly, but they did notice things that they did not consider normal.

"I've never seen him with a woman. I've never seen him with a man. I've only seen him with children," Canally's next-door neighbor, Matthew Sallese, said.

"I was out here smoking a cigarette at about 2 in the morning after work," he continued. "I saw him with some young boy taking off, and I waited for him to get back. I don't know. I just had a weird feeling."

Clayton police say their investigation is ongoing. Detective JasonLinder said that, whenever a victim comes forward, it also gives others the courage to come forward as well.

The other victims that are out there, potential victims, (for them) to see that there are brave victims who have come forward, gives them a little bit more courage and strength to come forward and talk with us," he said. "They feel a little ashamed, and you have to explain to them that (they) don’t have anything to be ashamed about , that (they’re) being brave."

Canally worked as a seventh-grade science teacher and science club adviser at Archer Lodge Middle from August 2007 to July 2009, when he resigned for personal reasons, Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms said.

Sessoms said Friday that district officials were investigating a verbal complaint against Canally in the summer of 2009 when he resigned. The complaint didn't involve any alleged sexual misconduct, she said, but "concerns were reported to all appropriate agencies."

Sessoms said the school district took no disciplinary actions against Canally during his tenure.

Police said Canally also worked as a camp counselor in Pennsylvania, and they are trying to determine if there were any victims there.