by: Tina Terry Updated:
SALISBURY, N.C. - Tyler Fuller, 18, the young man accused of raping a 13-year old middle school student, hopped into an SUV after his first appearance in court.
Outside the courtroom, his mother told Eyewitness News she didn't want to talk on camera, but she cried and said her son is a good kid.
His parents say the senior and AB Honor Roll Student at South Rowan High School was preparing to play baseball at Belmont Abbey College. Friday, police arrested him and charged him with statutory rape.
They said Fuller was helping instruct students at China Grove Middle School as part to an internship program designed to prepare seniors for work. Police said earlier this month, several students complained that Fuller sent them inappropriate pictures and text messages. Some using the mobile application called Snapchat.
"They're saying there were pictures sent to them, but not necessarily nude. They're saying they were asked to send pictures back," said Officer Reese Helms. He works as a school resource officer at China Grove Middle School and with the China Grove Police Department.
Investigators said they decided to charge Fuller with statutory rape after interviewing those involved.
"We have approximately five females that we are talking to. One in which came to us and said there was more than pictures,” said Officer Reese Helms with China Grove Police Department.
Fuller's attorney would not say how his client would plea, but said the family gave his cellphone to police.
"Once he gave me the phone we sealed it up. I didn’t ask what was on the phone. I figured discovery would reveal and we'd know," said Attorney Rick Locklear.
"We're waiting to see what evidence we get from the device," said Helms.
Tuesday morning, we asked school leaders if they would change the internship program as a result of that incident, but they didn't respond before the story aired Tuesday night.
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