Principal accused of sex crimes

June 10, 2009 5:29:25 PM PDT
Ronald Thomas Parker, 58, of Fayetteville turned himself in to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Wednesday.

Parker is accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior with a 3-year-old child in his home between May 29 and May 30, 2009.

He is the principal at Eastover-Central Elementary School. Parker has been principal at the school in Eastover since 2005.

Leaders with the Cumberland County School System suspended Parker with pay on June 4 after the sheriff's office contacted them about the allegations. Wednesday was the last day of classes at the school.

"The encounter reportedly happened at the end of May and the child told her mother that there was a secret she had between the suspect and herself," Cumberland County Sheriff's Spokesman Debbie Tanna said. "And she began to describe the secret and that's went the mother contacted the Sheriff's Office."

Investigators say the child making the allegations is not connected to the school.

"This is not a student," Tanna said. "We have no reason to believe that anything as far as this child is concerned occurred on school campus."

Parents like Jennifer Higgins say they are having a tough time believing the allegations.

"He's a great person," she said. "He's been Principal at this school for a couple of years now. He's a neighbor of my parents. Loves the kids, he got a great rapport with the teachers and all the children and it's just devastating, hard to believe."

Parker is charged with statutory sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a child.

He was released from jail under a $50,000 bond and he is scheduled to appear in court Thursday at 2:30 p.m.


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