LINCOLNTON, N.C. — A teacher who has since resigned is accused of taking indecent liberties with at least four different students at a Lincolnton elementary school, investigators said.
In a news release, Lincolnton police said they learned about the first accusation in February, which involved a student at Battleground Elementary School. After investigating, police found three more victims.
The suspect, Brittain Lee Nichols, 29, of Fort Mill, is accused of carrying out sex crimes with some of the victims more than once while at the school.
Nichols was charged with 24 counts of felony sex offenses: 12 counts of taking indecent liberties with a student and 12 counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.
All of the alleged incidents happened at the school and some of the alleged victims had more than one encounter with the teacher, authorities said.
Nichols was arrested on Monday. He was given a $150,000 bond and was taken to the Lincoln County jail. He was released hours later after posting bail.
According to Battleground Elementary’s website, Nichols was the school’s music teacher. He also taught the East Lincoln High School and North Lincoln High School marching bands. A spokesperson for the district confirmed he no longer works for Lincoln County Schools.
The spokesperson said Lincoln County Schools initially investigated Nichols and turned everything they learned over to law enforcement in February. They had to do so before any information could be released because of the confidential nature of the situation for both the students and Nichols, the district said.
Nichols faced a judge Tuesday morning and said very little as the judge read his charges. After his court appearance, Channel 9′s Dave Faherty tried to talk with the former teacher about the allegations, but his lawyer said they have no comment at this time.
Kristin Britt’s two daughters go to Battleground Elementary and had Nichols as their teacher. She was shocked by the allegations.
“He taught all three of my kids’ music in elementary school and they all learned recorder from him,” she said. “And it’s really shocking because they all had nothing but positive, good things to say about him.”
Parents said elementary school children should be able to trust their teachers.
“I would never think he should be around another child,” said parent Allen Asbell. “That’s the way I feel and that’s the way it should be.”
“It’s horrible to even think about,” said parent Mindy Fuller. “Knowing that my son was recently in Battleground, it’s hard to take.”
Monea Owens has two children who attend the school and said she never got a message or letter from the school about the investigation.
“I’m definitely going to make sure I talk with my kids when they come home to make sure, you know, that he never did or said anything,” she said.
Larnette Frazier has two grandchildren at the school and said she had concerns about the former teacher.
“I felt like he was always over friendly with the kids,” Frazier said. “And I guess the vulnerability, because the kids were thinking he was being nice.”
Nichols was placed on administrative leave, the spokesperson said, and then resigned from his position as a music teacher at Battleground Elementary. The district also notified the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction of the allegations.
Lincolnton police asked anyone with information to call Det. Diallo at 704-736-8900.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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