A registered sex offender who worked at a Fayetteville private Christian school that has received more than $100,000 in publicly-funded school vouchers is now facing criminal charges—and the head of the school that hired him has taken a leave of absence, WRAL reports.
Paul Conner, 50, of Mosswood Lane in Fayetteville, is charged with three counts of violating the sex offender registry guidelines and one count of conspiracy, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
The school’s [Freedom Christian Academy] principal, Joan Dayton, submitted a leave of absence to school officials Friday amid an investigation into claims that she allowed Conner to work at the school and that administrators changed student grades.
Dayton has not been charged, but is named in Conner’s arrest warrant as a co-conspirator.
Last week, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant to determine if Dayton, who employed Conner to do handyman work at Freedom Christian Academy, knew beforehand that he was a registered sex offender.
The detective working on the investigation concluded that there was probable cause that Dayton knew of Conner’s status thanks to emails she sent and interviews with teachers, staff and parents.
Dayton has not been charged, but she was named ‘co-conspirator’ in Conner’s arrest warrant, according to WRAL.
The investigation is also looking into allegations that school officials changed the grades of favored students and athletes.
Freedom Christian Academy has received $108,254 in public school voucher funds to date—the state’s fifth largest voucher recipient. Twenty-six of its 500+ students have each been able to use up to $4,200 in public funds to pay for tuition at the private religious school.
Parents have posted multiple comments on Freedom Christian Academy’s Facebook asking for more answers.
Stay tuned for further developments.