A former high school band teacher in North Carolina was arrested on sex charges after a young woman wrote in an essay in her college newspaper that he got her pregnant — and took her to get an abortion — when she was his student.
The essay, “I had an affair with my high school teacher,” used some fake names but identified the Winston-Salem school, and the principal there tipped off authorities. It was originally written for a composition class at North Carolina Central University and appeared in the campus paper this month as part of an annual special section.
The piece, which describes a relationship that started when the student was 17 and her teacher 24, begins with a chilling description of the abortion.
“The sound of the vacuum still rings in my ears almost three years later,” she wrote. “He had taken me to Greensboro because he was scared of someone from school or anyone catching us together at the abortion clinic — didn’t want anyone ‘getting the wrong idea.’”
The teacher, Terry Lamar Jones, now 28, turned himself in on Monday and was charged with 64 felony counts of sex with a student, each one punishable by 15 months in prison. He was jailed on $500,000 bail.
Jones’ attorney, David Freedman, said: “People are quick to judge in matters when people are charged, especially when a teacher is accused of having a relationship with a student.”
The woman, now a college junior, used her real name in the essay, and it was published along with a photo, but The Associated Press is not identifying her because police consider her a victim of a sex crime.
Repeated attempts to reach her were unsuccessful. She changed the name of her former teacher, as well as that of another student she said had a sexual relationship with him, and all but one reference to her alma mater, Parkland High.
Investigators refused to give details about their investigation, saying only that they spoke with the student last week.
Jones left the Winston-Salem school system in November 2008. Freedman and district officials would not give details about his departure, saying only that he had no demotions or suspensions and submitted a letter of resignation. He had been a band teacher since last year at a middle school in Durham, a position he resigned the day after he turned himself in.
The age of consent in North Carolina is 16, but Jones was charged under a law that specifically makes it a crime for a teacher to have sex with a student at the same school. It is a misdemeanor if the teacher is less than four years older than the student, and a felony if the teacher is four or more years older.
There was no indication in the essay that the woman wanted to see her former teacher arrested or otherwise punished.
The essay, published April 13, created a sensation on campus, with students clamoring for copies of the paper. A day after it came out, more than half of the 4,000 copies were stolen from receptacles around campus, the paper’s faculty adviser said. It is not known who took them.
“A lot of people want to read it, but they can’t get ahold of it for themselves,” said Ashley Griffin, editor of The Echo. “It’s really a pretty big deal over here.”
The relationship began in October 2007, the student wrote, when Jones invited her to his home to review band videos on the Internet. She said the two kissed that night, but she left in a big hurry to make curfew.
“It was as if he wanted me as bad as I had him that entire year,” the student wrote. “I drove home wide-eyed and full of energy. Who in their right mind would ever believe that I had almost had sex with our band director?”
She said things quickly turned sexual, and the two spent nearly every night together. She said the relationship faltered when she learned that Jones had also been involved with her best friend, but she stayed with him anyway until she graduated in 2008.
“I think I needed the attention,” the student wrote. “Today I don’t speak to either of them. They are still together.”
The student wrote that she still feels guilt about the relationship.
“I am still scarred by the experience. I lost my only friends and abused and embarrassed myself by sleeping with a teacher and having an abortion,” she said. “A lot of girls can talk the talk, but we all have to be aware of that guilty walk that comes along with the territory.”