GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — More than a decade after being victimized by their teacher, two men are sharing their stories.
“There was even a sense of shame following each time,” said one man, who was 14 years old when Marcia Corbett started grooming him.
Both men did not want to be identified.
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"Sure, I'm a victim, but I am not going to stay that way for long," he said.
They were students of Corbett, who worked for decades as a teacher in Gaston County.
She taught them at Gaston Christian School in 2002 and 2003.
“I didn't realize what it would do to me as a human, to me as an individual," he said.
The victims said it started with text messages, phone calls, favoritism and time alone off campus.
Corbett had one of them babysit for her children.
They said touching was innocent at first then slowly crossed the line.
“She would move further and further and further along until it got inappropriate,” said the other man, who was 17 years old when he was sexually abused.
Corbett was a well-loved and respectable teacher, and no one questioned her.
"All the signs were there, and I was just too young and naive to see them," said the man, who was 17 years old at the time.
Keeping the secret eventually led to separating themselves from their families and friends, creating rifts they say they couldn't repair.
The victim said it was demoralizing when they realized the situation wasn't right.
"It felt like a car door any door just slammed shut on my soul," said the victim.
They suffered in silence for more than a decade fearing no one would believe them and everyone would shun them.
They might have stayed silent until they learned that both were abused by Corbett and heard talk that Corbett who was teaching at Hunter Huss High. They said they heard she had became close to other students.
"That stops,” said the victim. “This year, that stops."
They went back to Gaston Christian last summer and told administrators what happened.
The head of the school arranged a meeting with the police.
Corbett was arrested and pleaded guilty a month later in a case that moved through the courts at lightning speed.
In August, she got probation and had to register as a sex offender.
"I'm at peace at the justice that was served," said the man, who was 17 when the incidents started.
At about the same time as Corbett's plea, other cases involving educators came to light involving an assistant principal and two male students in Cramerton, as well as a principal and a student in Lincolnton.
The men felt there were more people like them, who were afraid to come forward.
"There are young people in a prison of their own minds and their own hearts everywhere," said the man, who was 14 when he was victimized by Corbett.
"The minute you come forward, that's the second a whole new chapter and a whole new life begins in a good way," the other victim said.
"Knowing what I know now, I hate that I waited 15 years," said the victim, who was 14 when it happened.
They two men said the scars last forever and that courts and convictions can't change that, but the pain and guilt can be removed. They added it’s OK to talk about what happened.
"I believe that if there is bad in this world, there has got to be good. There has got to be good," said the man, who was 17 when the abuse started.
Corbett surrendered her license to teach. Her probation is for two years and if she violates that, she could be sentenced to prison for five years.
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