Community shocked by band director arrest

Mitchell "Lance" Britt

March 25, 2010 1:18:19 PM PDT
From the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade to presidential inaugurations, the West Johnston High School championship marching band got its direction from 38-year-old Mitchell Britt.

Now, he's in a Pennsylvania jail accused of having sex with a 17-year-old West Johnston student and possibly others.

Many Johnston County residents are shocked by the allegations.

"I'm hoping and praying this is all not true," offered Four Oaks resident Charlie Brown.

Britt was a frequent customer at Brown's furniture store in Four Oaks - where Britt lived before suddenly resigning last fall.

Brown recalls Britt as a dedicated band director who emphasized hard work and discipline - sometimes to the chagrin of some parents.

"He's just an upstanding person and I had so much respect for the disciplinarian that he was," said Brown.

But investigators say it was at Britt's former home in Four Oaks where he had at least two sexual encounters. They allege other incidents may have occurred during band trips out of state - leading the FBI to assist with the investigation.

A For Sale sign hangs outside his former home where neighbors say there were parties.

"I understand some other people saw some parties there, but I never saw anything like that," said Brown. "It's just not adding up."

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