Gastonia teacher charged in assault of 5-year-old

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

GASTONIA, N.C. - Eyewitness News has learned Christopher Alexander admitted to taking the 5-year-old boy out of class and assaulting him.

The child's parents said it happened a week before school ended, under the stairwell on the side of the school.

Just a few yards farther out and he would have been able to see his home across the street and his mother on the front porch.

"I heard a child cry, and I could have sworn it was my baby," said Virginia Hodge.

Hodge said she convinced herself that the sound could have come from any of the other children at Rhyne Elementary School.

Then the kindergartener came home and told his parents that his teacher got angry at him and went too far.

"We are angry at ourselves because we couldn't protect him, and he was right there," said Hodge.

The child told police his teacher assistant, Alexander, got at angry with him in class, grabbed him by the neck and took him outside.

His parents took cellphone pictures of the scars.

He said the teacher grabbed his groin and squeezed in anger.

"That little boy has got to go through a lot. He has got to go through therapy," said Hodge.

Police took their time reviewing the school's security cameras and asking questions before they arrested Alexander Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he is out of jail on bond.

Eyewitness News went to his house on Wednesday.

No one answered the door.

School officials said they conducted a background check before hiring Alexander in December.

They suspended him with pay the day of the alleged incident.

He had a temporary job and will not return to the classroom.

"He knows the gentleman was arrested. He said, 'Now he will not be able to hurt me,'" said Hodge.

Alexander is charged with assault on a child under 12.

Eyewitness News was told there will be no sexual assault charges for allegedly grabbing the child's groin, because there is no indication of sexual intent.