The founder and head of Stevens Prep Academy in Raleigh, a small school for academically at-risk youth, was arrested late Thursday on charges of taking indecent liberties with a child and statutory rape over a period of 5 years.
Claude Mordecai Stevens, 54, was arrested at the academy, where he lives, at 901 Oak Creek Road.
Arrest warrants obtained by the Wake County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday accused Stevens of four counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and eight counts of statutory rape or sexual offense with someone who is 13 to 15 years old.
The warrants alleged that the offenses took place between Jan. 1, 2007, and Jan. 1, 2012. They cite two victims but do not identify their genders.
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According to its website, Stevens founded the academy in 1988 after working as a special education teacher in the Wake County Public School System.
Schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten said Friday that the Wake system has no record of Stevens having been an employee.
The academy website says that he holds a doctorate in educational counseling but does not name the institution.
The Oak Creek Road property is owned by the C.M. Stevens Foundation Inc., which Stevens formed in 1999. The foundation’s address was 4109 Wake Forest Road until it moved to the 4,300-square-foot house on Oak Creek Road in January 2006, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Stevens himself transferred ownership of the property to the foundation later that year, and it became tax exempt because the foundation is a nonprofit corporation. The current property value listed in county tax records is a bit over $475,000.
Stevens was booked at the Wake County Detention Center early Friday and held in lieu of $5 million bail.