Raleigh prep academy operator faces 12 child sex charges, receives $5M bond


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A 54-year-old Raleigh man and private school director is facing a dozen child sex charges that date back to January 2007, an arrest warrant shows.

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See photos of Stevens and the school

Claude Mordecia Stevens, of 901 Oak Creek Road, has been charged with eight counts of felony statutory rape of a child under the age of 16 and four counts of felony indecent liberties with a child under the age of 16. The charges involve two minors.

The warrant shows that the crimes occurred between Jan. 1, 2007 and Jan. 1, 2012.

The Oak Creek Road address is listed as both Stevens’ residence and the location of Stevens Prep Academy, where he is the sole operator of the school for at-risk youth for students in grades 6-12.

According to the school’s website,

Stevens Prep Academy is responsible for impacting the lives of more than 660 at-risk youth enabling them to redirect their lives into a more positive and productive manner. We focus on helping students with ADD, ADHD, autism, Aspergers and various processing difficulties as well as specific learning disabilities.”

Stevens began his career as a special education teacher with the Wake County Public School System in 1988, the school’s website states.

The academy prides itself on “small class sizes with 1 on 1 assistance and instruction,” according to the website. There were 14 students enrolled at the school during the 2015-16 school year, according to the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.

The website states that Stevens has a doctorate in educational counseling, a master’s in educational counseling, and a bachelor’s degree in pre-law.

Stevens is being held at the Wake County Detention Center under a $5 million bond. His first court appearance is schedule for Aug. 19.

On his website, Stevens says he has a doctorate and a master’s in educational counseling.

CBS North Carolina Investigates searched the state database to see if he had a state-issued teaching license.

Records show his license expired in 1987, one year before Stevens established his school.

A teaching license is not required to operate a private school in North Carolina.

CBS North Carolina Investigates also looked into any required background checks.

According to state law, if a private school accepts students who get scholarship grants, then the staff member with the highest decision making authority, which in this case would be Stevens, has to get a criminal background check.

According to the State Education Assistance Authority, Stevens Prep School is eligible for both disability grants and opportunity scholarship students.

CBS North Carolina is checking to see if Stevens submitted a background check.

The State Department of Administration is responsible for governing non-public schools. Other rules required to open a private school can be found here.

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