School administrator faces 120 sex charges

49-year-old Craig Wheeler (Cumberland County Sheriff's Office)

April 28, 2011 8:16:31 PM PDT
Cumberland County sheriff's detectives charged a private school administrator Thursday with sex charges involving a minor.

Craig Steven Wheeler, 49, of Fayetteville, is charged with 120 counts which include committing sexual acts with a student, statutory sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a minor.

Investigators say Wheeler is the administrator of Eastover Christian Academy Childcare located in Eastover, N.C. He allegedly engaged in inappropriate behavior with a 14-year-old girl on the school's campus.

Detectives say Wheeler set up a makeshift residence at the school and began his relationship with the girl in June 2008 and it ended in September 2009.

Parents and students expressed shock and disbelief, but no one wanted to speak to ABC11 Eyewitness News on camera. One parent said his children will continue attending the academy.

According to the school's website, it is spiritually based and provides classes from pre-kindergarten through ninth grade as well as child care for children ages one through twelve.

"I filed several complaints against them," a former academy employee told ABC11. She asked that her identity be withheld.

She claims she quit months ago because of the way children were treated.

She says she never witnessed any sexual behavior towards the children, but did witness inappropriate behavior like abuse. Specifically, "Spanking inappropriately when there was not supposed to be any spanking at all, poking children in the head with pens. Neglect was the main thing. I would be here for hours at a time by myself."

Parents met with school officials for about an hour but many had no comment as they left. One parent said he had heard the owners' side of the story and he supports them. He said he has no concerns about allowing his children to continue attending the school.

Wheeler is being processed in the Cumberland County Detention Center and no bond has been set.

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