Attempted rape charges dismissed against assistant principal, football coach at Hillside High School

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Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Charges dismissed against Durham assistant principal, football coach
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Hillside High School Assistant Principal Louis Ray Harrison has had all attempted rape charges dismissed against him.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- An assistant principal at a Durham high school has had all criminal charges dismissed against him.

Hillside High School Assistant Principal Louis Ray Harrison, 48, of Apex, who also served as head football coach, was charged with attempted second-degree rape and felony breaking and entering with the intent to terrorize or injure back in June.

Court documents show that further investigation uncovered "substantial contradictory evidence." With that new evidence, prosecutors dropped all charges against Harrison. The charges against Harrison were thrown out on Nov. 16.

ABC11 reached out to the Durham Police Department and Durham County District Attorney's Office. The police department declined to comment on the case. The district attorney's office has not yet gotten back to ABC11.

Harrison's attorney provided this statement to ABC11: "Before June of 2023, Mr. Harrison was an esteemed Assistant Principal and football coach at Hillside High School in Durham. However, on June 5, 2023, Mr. Harrison was charged with Attempted 2nd Degree Rape and Breaking or Entering with Intent to Terrorize. Soon thereafter, additional charges of Disorderly Conduct, Felonious Restraint, and Assault on a Female were added. Mr. Harrison, in the face of these public allegations, resigned from his position at Hillside. Counsel for Mr. Harrison conducted an investigation that produced substantial evidence of false allegations. Once this information was provided to the Durham District Attorney's Office, they pursued their own additional investigation. As a result of what they learned, on November 16, 2023, the District Attorney's Office dismissed all charges for insufficient evidence, stating there was "substantial contradictory evidence. The actions of the District Attorney's office in ensuring a full investigation into the information presented to them and acting on that information with dismissals is commendable. However, while the justice system affords a presumption of innocence, being falsely accused of rape will certainly follow Mr. Harrison and continue to impact him. Mr. Harrison appreciates the love and support of his family during this difficult time."

The specifics of the evidence that led to such an abrupt about-face in the case remain unclear -- just that it has been described as "substantial contradictory evidence."

Harrison's initial arrest came following an investigation into accusations made against him on March 21.

Durham Public Schools said Harrison was suspended on March 22. He remained off campus and was suspended with pay until he submitted his resignation effective June 30.

According to his bio on the school's website, Harrison was responsible for science, world languages, and media technology. He had nearly two decades of experience in the education field. Prior to teaching, Harrison served in the United States Air Force.

Durham Public Schools told ABC11 that "This is no longer a school system issue. We wish all parties involved the best."