TROY, N.C. — A former Montgomery County Schools principal has been charged with having inappropriate relations with a student and may be the father of the student’s 1-year-old child, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
John Ward admitted to engaging in sexual acts with a 16-year-old student when he was principal of Montgomery Learning Academy in Troy, according to Lt. Det. Kelley Howell.
The student told investigators that Ward may be the father of her child.
Investigators will seek paternity tests to determine whether or not it’s true.
The sexual acts reportedly took place off campus.
The school system originally heard a rumor about this student and this principal in November of 2011. They investigated, but everyone they interviewed lied about the initial rumors.
“We talked to the principal. We talked to the student. We talked to the student’s guardian. Nothing could be substantiated,” said Superintendent Dr. Dale Ellis.
“Had we had heard anything we would’ve jumped on it immediately.”
The rumor resurfaced Monday at which point both the principal and (now former) student admitted to it, with signed affidavits.
“They both stated that they had a sexual relationship with each other.” said Lt. Kelley Howell with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department.
“There was a child. The child’s father’s in question. It may be Mr Ward’s it may not be.”
The girl is 19 now. She was 16 or 17 when this relationship was taking place.
“We don’t want these types of issues happening in our schools. Safety is our top priority.” said Superintendent Ellis.
“Although the situation is very disturbing and upsetting it does not define who we are.”
Ward applied for and got a promotion to transportation director for the county in 2012.
“If we had any indication of any wrongdoing at that point obviously that would not have happened.” Ellis said.
Ward has been charged with indecent liberties with a student and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Investigators are currently looking to question the suspect’s wife about the allegations, although she is not a criminal suspect. The suspect’s wife has been temporarily suspended from her position as a social worker.
Below is a statement from Superintendent Dale Ellis:
Over the course of a school year, district personnel receive a multitude of complaints and allegations of employee wrong-doing. That is not surprising in a system with over 4,000 students and 600 employees. We take great care to investigate every issue and to respond to each allegation seriously and appropriately. When we investigate allegations, if there is any indication that inappropriate behaviors have occurred, we always report that information to law enforcement immediately and take proper steps in our employee disciplinary procedures.
Although this situation is very disturbing and upsetting – it does not define who we are. It is sad that it might somehow overshadow the tremendous work that our employees do on a daily basis — being leaders and role models for our students.
It is already a part of our annual process to remind employees about inappropriate relationships with students. However, we will continue to evaluate existing and additional training opportunities to ensure that employees understand the importance of keeping the student-educator relationship professional.