• Union Co. teacher arrested on felony fugitive charges from W.Va.

    By: Kathryn Burcham


    UNION COUNTY, N.C. - Students tell Eyewitness News they are stunned after their teacher was arrested at Piedmont High School.

    He's facing charges for a crime involving a teenaged girl more than 200 miles away.

    Detectives said Randall Cassels sent the 16-year-old student messages online asking her for sex.
    Now he could be sent back to West Virginia.

    The school district fired Cassels after the arrest but parents said they had no idea any of this had taken place.
    Parents began contacting Channel 9 after Cassels' arrest on Monday and district officials said they did not send out a notification to students or parents because they didn't feel it was necessary.

    Investigators said they are going through Cassels' school issued laptop to see if he targeted anyone else.

    "He didn't look like the type of teacher that would do that," said Cyris Acker, student. "He was relaxed and cool and everything, not something you'd expect from him."

    District officials say they hired Cassels in August as a long-term substitute teacher, to fill in for an English teacher on maternity leave.

    But on Monday, district officials said his tenure was cut short when he was fired when they learned about sex charges Cassels was facing in West Virginia.

    Sheriff's detectives in Mcdowell County and West Virginia began investigating Cassels in October.

    Authorities said Cassels met the female student when he was a teacher at Riverview High School in West Virginia last year, and recently reconnected with her through Facebook.

    "Some of the conversation got very graphic, sexual in nature," said Det. Ronald Blevins with the McDowell County Sheriff's Office. "She had been involved in an Internet conversation with Mr. Cassels and in her words, it had became 'creepy,'" the detective said.

    Detectives said Cassels and the teen exchanged hundreds of Facebook messages until Cassels tried to arrange a meeting with the teen in Tennessee.

    That's when she contacted authorities and they filed a fugitive warrant for Cassels' arrest, which was carried out by Union County sheriff's deputies earlier this week.

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