Coach who pleaded guilty to spying on girls will not work in district, officials say

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — A man who pleaded guilty to spying on teenage girls changing their clothes was trusted to coach a middle school football team in Caldwell County.

After a concerned viewer contacted Channel 9, reporter Dave Faherty started digging and got a hold of a letter confirming Caldwell County Schools not only knew about the conviction, but also made an effort to keep Robert Dula away from girls.

After our report aired Thursday afternoon, district officials said it has been decided Dula will not be allowed to work in the Caldwell County school system.

"It has been determined that Robert Dula will no longer serve in any capacity, including any volunteer assignment, in the Caldwell County School System," the district said.

Until 2003, Dula worked for Caldwell County Schools as a masonry teacher at Hibriten High School. He was arrested after police said he secretly recorded video of two female students changing clothes in his office.

"Why did I plea, simply I followed my attorney's advice. He advised me to plea guilty to it," Dula said.

Dula said he wasn't in the office at the time, and he had the camera to videotape students working on projects.

Dula pleaded guilty to misdemeanor secret peeping in a deal where felony charges were dismissed, and he was also ordered to surrender his teaching certificate.

But last year, 15 years after the conviction, he showed Channel 9 where Caldwell County Schools initially agreed to allow him to return to coaching as a volunteer head coach, something parents said shouldn't have happened.

"I really had a question for the school system to why he was able to coach," one parent said.

The appeals committee with the school district said in the letter, "You cannot be employed by Caldwell County Schools in any capacity, however, you will be allowed to coach boys only on a voluntary basis."

"I think I have a lot to offer the kids there, this community and just basically because I'm a good coach and a good person," Dula said.

We checked the requirements for school volunteers in Caldwell County and only what's called "Level 3 Volunteers" are required to go through background checks.

This includes coaches, chaperones, math and reading tutors.

The district website said they have to have an approved criminal background check before an assignment begins.

A spokesperson for the district sent Channel 9 a statement saying, "Mr. Dula worked as a teacher/coach with the Caldwell County Schools from 9/1/79 until his resignation on 2/1/04."