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Bless our heart, under authoritarian rule, loyalty is regarded as more important than competence....

Camden high school student charged with sex assault of another student

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By Reggie Ponder
The Daily Advance

Thursday, May 17, 2018

CAMDEN — A Camden County High School student has been charged with sexually assaulting a fellow student at school earlier this month.

Julius Larosa Williams Jr., 17, also known as “JR,” has been charged with one count of sexual battery, according to Camden County Sheriff Rodney Meads.

The charges stem from a May 4 incident in which a 15-year-old student at the school reported that she had been sexually assaulted by a fellow student in a vacant classroom during the school day.

The victim told officers the male student forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to information provided by the sheriff’s office.

Meads said warrants were served on Williams on May 10. Williams was released on $2,000 unsecured bond.

Meads said more charges are possible in the case. He said his office is working with the District Attorney’s Office on the matter.

In a prepared statement, Camden County Schools Superintendent Joe Ferrell said he could not discuss specific details of the incident or how the district has responded to it, noting “federal and state laws prevent the school system from giving detailed information about student disciplinary matters.” 

He did say, however, the district “will not tolerate any type of sexual assault among students.”

Ferrell said Camden’s school administration “thoroughly investigates any and all allegations and reports of student misconduct.” However, the district cannot impose disciplinary action on a student until it has all the facts.

“Student disciplinary proceedings cannot be pursued until sufficient evidence is provided to show that the student has committed a disciplinary violation,” Ferrell said. “Administration must also consider and evaluate the evidence for and against the student.”

Ferrell said constitutional protections apply to students.

“Students cannot be issued any serious discipline, including out-of-school suspension, without affording the accused student all the rights of due process required by law,” he said. “This does not change just because of the seriousness of the alleged offense, or just because a student is arrested or charged with a crime.”

Reiterating that he could not comment on an individual case, Ferrell said “I can say that the recent complaint mentioned in social media has been handled in accordance with board policy by school administration. Appropriate actions have been taken to protect the accuser.

“Any suggestion that disciplinary action has been withheld because of the time remaining this semester is false,” he said. The Camden school year is slated to end early next month.

“We realize that it may be difficult for many people to understand why immediate action is not taken in every case,” Ferrell said. “Rest assured, when the evidence from an investigation demonstrates that a student poses a threat to the safety or welfare of other students or staff, the Camden County Schools will take swift and appropriate action to protect all the other students in our school system.” 

Asked why a classroom was left unattended, Ferrell said that while the school district does not have a policy requiring classrooms to be locked, school administrators generally encourage teachers and other employees to lock their classrooms and offices.

Reggie Ponder is a reporterfor The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City.

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