ASHEBORO, N.C. — A former teacher at Randleman High School charged with taking indecent liberties with a student in December is facing several more charges following an investigation.
On Dec. 17, 2013, a joint investigation between the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and Randolph County Schools concerning an assault of a student at Randleman High School resulted in the arrest of Hazem M. Eldara, 54, of Asheboro. He was charged with one count of taking indecent liberties with a student.
As a result of that investigation, officers seized several digital media devices. Upon analyzing the devices, deputies located evidence of additional crimes.
A total of eight victims have been identified. All but one of the victims were former students of Eldara.
Eldara turned himself in at the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday. He was charged with 19 additional counts of indecent liberties with a student, 18 counts of secret use of a photographic imaging device to view others and 18 counts of possession of a photographic image obtained in violation of secret peeping statutes.
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office did not want to disclose how Eldara may have taken those photos because the information would identify the victims.
Even with the limited information, Courtney Chavis, a spokesperson for the the Randolph County Family Crisis Center, hoped the school and investigators would be a little more forthcoming in the future to help students understand the nature of sex crimes in school.
“You can be broad and still address some of the lingering questions that are out there to a degree that would be helpful for those that would be willing to listen and participate,” said Chavis.
The crisis center already has a presence in the school. Counselors teach sex assault awareness to both male and female students when they enter ninth grade.
Chavis admits though that this is a troubling situation because in many cases students are told to trust teachers as a confidant with problems like this. Chavis said she’s been monitoring the online chatter regarding this arrest and said some students don’t want to believe the accusations.
“There was a lot of disbelief,” said Chavis. “They came to the defense of this particular teacher because of they did not see him in that light.”
Eldara is confined in the Randolph County Jail under a $2,750,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court May 5.