• Former town official accused of theft is teaching at local college

    By: Linzi Sheldon


    DALLAS, N.C. - Eyewitness News learned a former town official accused of stealing more than $40,000 from her employer is teaching accounting at a local college, and some students said they are shocked.

    Michele Reapsmith, former town administrator with the town of Harrisburg, was indicted in April.

    The State Bureau of Investigation said between March 2009 and April 2011, Reapsmith paid herself more than $42,000.

    Gaston College, which is part of the North Carolina Community College system, receives state funding.

    College officials said Reapsmith is being paid $7,680 for teaching at the college during the fall semester and received $7,680 for teaching in the spring.

    Some students at Gaston College couldn't believe it.

    "I'm shocked and amazed," C.C. Hancock said. "I had no idea."

    "I think it's inappropriate," Jessica Luck said.

    Hancock said she wanted to know why Reapsmith was still teaching. She said she felt the college should be taking some steps.

    "I would think suspension, probably, until charges were cleared," she said.

    Gaston College officials said in a statement: "We cannot discuss anything further in this case because it is a personnel issue."

    At Reapsmith's home, she said she's taught at different schools for years, that she's a good teacher, and that she has to make a living. She said she could not comment on the case or charges and referred Eyewitness News to her attorney.

    In response to students' concerns, defense attorney Melissa Owen said, "I would hope that students would consider what people's civil rights are as citizens of this country and that simply an accusation is not a conviction."

    Gaston College officials said they will decide whether to offer Reapsmith a new contract at the end of the fall semester, which is the protocol for all part-time employees.

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