Employee charged with sexual assault of minor at group home co-owned by Greensboro deputy police chief

GREENSBORO, N.C. — An employee of a group home co-owned by Deputy Police Chief James Hinson has been charged with the sexual assault of a minor.

On Monday, the Guilford County Sheriff's Office charged Richard Vernell Heath, 51, with one count of statutory sex offense and two counts of indecent liberties with a child, according to court records.

He was arrested Tuesday.

The 15-year-old, whose name is being withheld, reported that Heath forced him on May 19 to perform oral sex at the The Center for Progressive Strides while other employees were away.

The victim also said that Heath inappropriately touched him in a car two days earlier.

The Division of Health Service Regulation, a state agency, released a 53-page report on July 31 detailing the encounter, saying the group home staff failed to report the assault to authorities and that Hinson tried to pressure the teen to "drop the charges."

The group home was fined $4,000 and ordered to suspend admissions.

The state said the fines are for failing to protect people in their care from harm, abuse, neglect or exploitation.

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