Education

Former Durham teacher charged with statutory rape and a sex offense with a student

A former Durham Public Schools teacher was arrested Tuesday morning after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a teenage student.

Troy Logan Pickens, 26, of Raleigh was the chrous teacher at Durant Road Middle School in Raleigh until he was suspended on Dec. 13 when district officials learned of allegations of an inappropriate relationship in another school district, said Wake County Public Schools spokesman Matt Dees.

Pickens was arrested in Rockingham by the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force on charges of statutory rape, committing a sexual offense with a student and taking indecent liberties with a child.

Pickens is being held at the Durham County Detention Center. Bail has not yet been set in his case.

The alleged incident occurred in February 2015 while Pickens was teaching at Neal Middle School, according to the Durham Police Department.

Pickens started working as a chorus teacher for the Durham Public Schools on Jan. 17, 2014. He was suspended with pay on March 11, 2015, after a student reported that he had grabbed her buttocks in class and told her to go to her seat, according to a statement from the school system. He resigned March 13, 2015.

“Recently, another former Neal student alleged a serious concern about Mr. Pickens,” the statement continued. “School employees notified the student’s family, who contacted law enforcement. We are fully cooperating with the investigation and urge families with any information to contact the Durham Police Department.”

Pickens had been employed in Wake County since July 1, 2015, Dees said. Wake schools is fully cooperating with Durham police in the investigation, he said.

▪ Pickens’ arrest marks the third time since October that a Wake County teacher has been arrested on suspicion that he was having an inappropriate relationship with a student in a previous teaching position.

Athens Drive High School science teacher Devon Ross Lategan, 29, of Warm Wood Lane in Apex was charged in November by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office with one felony count of sexual activity with a student. Investigators say the charge came after allegations Lategan had sexual contact with a 17-year-old female West Henderson High School student in June.

In October, Sanderson High School music teacher Timothy Allen Bennett was charged with having sex with a 17-year-old male student at South Lenoir High School when he worked there. The Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram said Bennett continued to stay in contact with the student after starting in Wake County in August.

▪ On Wednesday, Chapel Hill police reported they had charged a former security guard at East Chapel Hill High School with a sex offense. Randy Sam Bradford, 49, of Chapel Hill was charged with one felony count of a sex act with a student. The arrest is related to an incident which was reported earlier this month at the school.

Bradford turned himself in at the Orange County jail and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

Staff writer Mark Schultz contrinuted to this story.

Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi

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