SANFORD, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Sanford middle-school teacher charged with sex crimes involving several students appeared before a judge Friday in a Lee County courtroom.
Andrew Braxton Allen, 32, of Siler City, was arrested Thursday by the Lee County Sheriff's Office after an investigation that began weeks earlier.
The sheriff's office began investigating on Nov. 2 after receiving a report regarding an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student at San-Lee Middle School.
Investigators said they discovered that Allen allegedly had "numerous inappropriate relationships" with several students throughout his tenure at San-Lee Middle School. Allen worked at the school from 2012 until this year.
In a statement, Lee County Schools said Allen was "immediately suspended with pay pending a thorough investigation," on Nov. 2 when the allegations surfaced.
Two days later, Allen was suspended without pay pending Board action, and he resigned from his position on Nov. 6, the school district said.
The sheriff's office said it identified "multiple minor children" that were victims of sexual abuse.
"The Board wants to emphasize that student safety is our highest priority," LCS said in the statement. "All employees are screened before being hired, a process that includes criminal background checks and reference checks. School administrators monitor teachers and respond to any concerns that are raised.
"We understand that there will be many questions and that our community will need time and support in order to process and respond to this terrible situation," LCS added. "We are providing additional support to the San-Lee Middle School community, including additional counselors and other staff to support students."
On Nov. 14, a grand jury indicted Allen on charges of statutory sex offense with a child by an adult, indecent liberties with a child, and sexual activity with a student.
Allen initially received a $250,000 secured bond but on Friday, the judge raised the bond to $2 million.
He was transferred from the Lee County Jail to Central Prison in Raleigh until his next appearance, which is expected to take place in January.
"Recognizing the sensitive nature of this situation, we defer to parents about how and what to communicate to your children regarding what has occurred," LCS said. "Most of all, thank you for supporting the many Lee County Schools employees who are deeply committed to our children's education and their well-being."
The sheriff's office also asked that any parents who had students taught by Allen who have concerns about any possible inappropriate conduct contact authorities for follow-up.
The case remains under investigation.