South View High teacher sought on student sex charges
Posted December 7, 2018 4:53 p.m. EST
Updated December 7, 2018 7:43 p.m. EST
Hope Mills, N.C. — Cumberland County authorities were searching Friday for a suspended South View High School teacher, who faces charges he had sex with a student.
Arrest warrants have been issued charging Dmitri Pelaez, 30, with six counts of indecent liberties with a student and one count of sexual activity with a student.
A student reported to investigators last month that Pelaez had engaged in inappropriate conduct with her, authorities said. Three other students have since reported similar incidents.
Sean Swain, spokesman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, said the seven charges are related to the first student. More charges are possible after the other students are interviewed, he said.
Pelaez, who taught social studies and served as the assistant girls soccer coach at South View High, has been on paid administrative leave since the allegations surfaced.
The father of the first student said Pelaez began making inappropriate comments to the 16-year-old girl, who played on the soccer team, in October. He said the coach then got his daughter to watch soccer videos with him online, and the alleged sexual misconduct then got worse.
"Once that happened, he then pursued on to text messaging and tried to even further as far as inappropriate comments – I mean blatant sexual advances – also to include sending a picture of his genitals via Snapchat."
Cumberland County Schools officials issued a statement saying that Pelaez will remain suspended with pay, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.
"As always, CCS strives to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff," the statement reads. "These allegations are extremely disturbing; however, they are not representative of the 6,000 dedicated educators and staff who serve our students on a daily basis."
The students's father said the school district needs to take more action.
"My plea to the superintendent [is] that he goes forward and ensures that this never happens again because, as we all know, this is the second incident at this school within approximately 18 months," he said.
Matthew Aaron Holmes, a former assistant track and cross country coach at South View High, was charged in March 2017 with having sex with a student. A former track team member told investigators that she and Holmes had sex several times off campus between November 2015 and February 2016.
"I want to see justice served," said the father of the student in Pelaez's case. "If the allegations are true, he needs to be punished to the maximum extent of the law."