Warrant: Former Durham teacher forced himself on student

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Search warrants in the case against a current Wake and former Durham County middle school teacher allege he forced himself on a 14-year-old student in 2015.

The student's mother told ABC11 that 26-year-old Troy Logan Pickens was allowed to take her daughter to after-school events because she had challenges with transportation.

According to the victim's statements in an affidavit, Pickens told her he needed to go by his house to changed clothes. Once there, he allegedly began kissing the girl's neck and caressing her legs after making her a sandwich. He then forced her onto a couch while unbuttoning her pants. He later pulled her into a bedroom.

Afterward, the victim said Pickens apologized, saying "He shouldn't have done that, but if she told anyone that things would get worse."

She later received a nude photo to her Instagram account.

Troy Logan Pickens, 26

image courtesy Durham police

Durham police say the incident happened in 2015 when Pickens was working at Neal Middle School. The incident was reported this month, according to police.

Pickens is charged with statutory rape, committing a sexual offense involving a student, and taking indecent liberties with a child. Bond was raised to $750,000 at a court hearing Wednesday.

That was despite a plea from Pickens' brother to lower the bond.

"I just ask that you please. Do all that you can, so that we can get him home and get him in a good environment so that he can be prepared to clear his name," offered Blake Utley.

Pickens is currently a teacher in Wake County at Durant Road Middle School. A Wake County Public Schools spokesperson said Pickens was suspended December 13. School officials said they didn't know about the allegations until they were contacted by investigators.

Pickens was a chorus teacher at Neal Middle School from Jan. 2014 to March 13, 2015 when he resigned. He was suspended with pay on March 11, 2015, after a student reported he grabbed her inappropriately in class, according to a Chip Sudderth, a spokesman for Durham Public Schools.

The district said the allegations were investigated by the Durham County Sheriff's Office at the time.

Wake County said criminal background checks are conducted on all new hires, but as there were no charges filed in the grabbing incident, there was no record. It also said there also is no master list of suspended teachers within the state that hiring districts can reference.

"Due to state personnel laws, we are limited in the information we can provide about employees, but we regularly review our hiring practices and will do so again in light of the charges filed against Mr. Pickens," said Wake spokesperson Matt Dees.

Pickens has been employed with WCPSS since July 1, 2015.

Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham confirmed Wednesday that Pickens was an interim part-time employee there and he has been suspended pending the criminal case against him.

"While the allegations being investigated do not involve Mr. Pickens' work at Watts Street Baptist Church, we are monitoring the situation closely and are cooperating with all law enforcement officials. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to everyone involved in this painful situation, to their families and all who love them," said Senior Minister Dorisanne Cooper.

Durham police continue to investigate. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Investigator J. Sandoval at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29461.

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