Former teacher pleads guilty to indecent liberties with a minor

Aug. 01, 2014 @ 06:04 PM

A former Northern Vance High School teacher pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor after sexually explicit messages were discovered between the 33-year-old man and a 16-year-old Northen Vance student.

William Ragland Jr. received a 60-day sentence from Judge Allen Baddour in Vance County Superior Court last week.

Baddour ruled the 60-day sentence would be suspended for 12 months and required Ragland to perform 48 hours of community service.

Ragland, a behavioral specialist at Northern Vance, was indicted by a grand jury March 24 with a charge of taking indecent liberties with a student from January 2013 to June 2013.

North Carolina general statues defines indecent liberties as taking or attempting to take any immoral, improper, or indecent liberties with a student for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.

It is also defined as committing or attempting to commit any lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body or any part or member of the body of a student.

The term indecent liberties do not include vaginal intercourse or a sexual act, according to general statues.

Ben Hunter, assistant district attorney, prosecuted that case for the state.

He said the case against Ragland was based on Facebook messages between him and the student, but it is complicated to prove that the messages were actually written by Ragland and not someone else accessing his account.

“The state’s case rested on Facebook messages — that are often difficult to authenticate and admit into evidence — and the statement of the alleged victim, which we had no way to corroborate,” Hunter said.

Nathan Baskerville represented Ragland.

“Through deliberations and negotiations, the state and Mr. Ragland came to an agreement that both sides were satisfied with,” he said.

Vance County Schools spokeswoman Terri Hedrick said the school system does not comment on personnel issues.

Ragland is no longer employed at Northern Vance High School or any other schools in the district.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.