Editor’s Note: Change the names and locations and various instances of the similar circumstances noted below have happened in Cleveland County. With NO punishment whatsoever for anybody. School Board member Roger Harris and former Sheriff Raymond Hamrick came to mind for their cover-up of a sex crime between a female teacher and a male student at Crest High School. And nobody in Cleveland County did anything.
It is a good thing to see that things are changing in North Carolina and people in high places are being held accountable for their actions and inactions. Hopefully this kind of activism will be coming soon to Cleveland County. I am watching this case closely for tips and recommendations.
The Following is an emailed copy of a call to arms requesting Democrats, Republicans and County Commissioners to come together to run off an offending District Attorney, Sheriff and School Superintendent. Headed up by the Southern Coalition for Equal Protection Under the Law–SCEPUP. Coming to Cleveland County soon! I hope!!
Dear Democratic and Republican Parties and County Commissioners,
The purpose of this email is to:
1. That each of you inquire into the Sheriff’s and the District Attorney’s involvement in the decision not to charge Nicholas Oates with a crime after they learned of illicit text messages sent to a 12-year-old special needs student.
2. That each of you solicit resources in removing the Sheriff and District Attorney from office because of a failure in charging Nicholas Oates with a crime when they learned of the content of the texts he sends to a child.
3. That each of you solicit resources to restore the child and family traumatized by the actions of Nicholas Oates and the inactions law enforcement.
The last high-ranking official in the New Hanover County area to be removed from office was District Attorney Jerry Spivey. The reason was his use of a racial slur in a bar. The resulting determination by the courts was that the isolated incidence constituted grounds for dismissal from office.
We believe procedures should start for the removal of two county officials for a reason far more dire than use of a racial slur. The reason is placing children at risk of sexual abuse. It comes because of a lack of action by a triangle of officials: The New Hanover County District Attorney, Sheriff, and school’s superintendent. The Michael Kelly case left a vague trail. The Nicholas Oats case leaves a clear trail.
We must now consider if a heinous disregard for child safety constitutes grounds for removal from office and we seek all political and governmental aid that is available in New Hanover County.
At hand is evidence that the inexplicable failure to charge Nicholas Oates with a very obnoxious and obvious crime caused severe harm to a twelve-year-old exceptional child—harm that has lifelong implications. As a result of this official negligence, and the follow-up continuation of Nicholas Oats’ employment in New Hanover Schools after his egregious sexting, countless other children were put at risk. That risk should never have happened, but with a negligent dereliction of duty, it did.
Based on recent law enforcement involvement by the DA’s office and past publications, statements, and recent emails—as well as activities in a recent sexual abuse charge—we believe that the decision not to charge Nicholas Oates with a crime was not the prerogative of a single actor. That decision followed a collaborative effort among Dr. Tim Markley, Sheriff Ed McMahon, and District Attorney Ben David. We believe this is becoming apparent beyond doubt. We believe it is reason for removal from office. At the least.
In addition to the above, we have the following concerns that are specific to the District Attorney’s office:
1. It took District Attorney Ben David nearly three years to respond to serious allegations that Holly Royals, a New Hanover County DSS Manager, interfered with a court order intended to bring justice to children who were sexually and physically abused. He done so only after New Hanover County Judge, Julius Corpening, was alerted that all cases coming before his court supervised by Holly Royals were in jeopardy of being overturned. Ms. Royals attempted to force a DSS worker to lie to the courts. Instead of being fired Ms. Royals received a promotion at DSS.
2. Most recently District Attorney Ben David refused to prosecute a teacher who was deemed by the New Hanover Title IX Director as touching a student in such a way that was “sexual in nature.” The same teacher was deemed as touching other students in the same manner. The teacher continues employment in the same position.
3. A Pender County student was properly charged by District Attorney Ben David after sexually assaulting a student, but the adults negligent in the matter received no charges or known consequences. The parents of the assaulted child were lied to for months and told they could not see the video. The Pender County Schools changed their stance only after media involvement.
4. A Pender County Assistant Principal and her husband have a pending case with the SBI after illegally entering the private assigned quarters of a DSS Social Worker during Hurricane Florence. The door was locked and the Social Worker was nude. The Assistant Principal, her husband, and daughter refused to leave and for two minutes stood before the nude social worker. The social worker was given five minutes to leave and was later found outside of the building shaken by the event.
5. A former teacher continues to substitute at the Pender County Schools after serious allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with students. The allegations were referred to the SBI.
Please note that the SBI is reported to be headed by Attorney General Josh Stein. The status of the cases is unknown and no responses to numerous public record requests. Silence is no longer an option when children are being harmed and put at risk.
Reverend Dante’ Murphy
Editor’s Note-Pt II” Stay tuned!!