UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A former Union County teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student will be in court on Monday.
Larry Robinson, who taught at Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe, was arrested in November 2017.
Monroe police detectives received information that led to an investigation of sexual activity between the former student and Robinson, 65, of Monroe.
The relationship between the student and teacher escalated during the student’s junior year in 2014 and continued until the student graduated in 2015, according to the investigation.
“We were alerted through the school system,” Monroe city communications director Peter Havanec said. “They told us they received a call, not the victim, but somebody else saying, ‘Hey, this may have happened.’ They shared the info with the school system. (The) school system immediately contacted us and we began our investigation, reaching out to those individuals and finally getting to the actual victim."
Robinson has been with Union County Public Schools for 36 years.
"We're all shocked," student Nick Bandhy said.
Bandhy said Robinson is a well-known and well-loved teacher.
"All the kids always hug him, high-five him in the hallways," Bandhy said.
Robinson has won multiple local and state awards, including the North Carolina Theatre Arts Educators Teacher of the Year and he has been recognized nationally for his work in theater.
"It's kind of given me concern about who's around my kids and is the school system protecting our kids like we would?" parent Clarissa Reid said.
“Our detectives and officers conducted a thorough investigation, interviewing all individuals involved and determined there was sufficient evidence to substantiate the charges,” Monroe Police Chief Bryan Gilliard said. “As with any case involving allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse, we must ensure we have completed all of our due diligence and evidence gathering before we present any formal charges. We shared all of our findings with the Union County District Attorney’s Office and mutually determined to move forward with the arrest.”
Robinson faces five counts of felony taking indecent liberties with a student and five counts of felony sexual conduct with a student.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Monroe Police Department at 704-282-5769 or 704-282-4756.
Message from Union County Public Schools:
"Good morning/afternoon parents, this is Dr. Kim Fisenne calling with an important message. As you know, I believe it is important to keep the lines of communication open between home and school. I want to let you know that Mr. Larry Robinson will not be in class for an indefinite timeframe due to an investigation. I know you may have questions about this matter, but due to the active investigation, I am not at liberty to share details.
I want you to know that my top priorities are to maintain quality instruction in all theater classes, to continue to keep our students engaged in upcoming activities, and to ensure a supportive school environment. Thank you for your cooperation. Please know that counselors are available should your student struggle and need to speak with someone. Have a good day/evening."
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