Sex abuse investigation at East Chapel Hill High School

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — A Chapel Hill school employee is under investigation after a claim of on-campus sexual abuse.

East Chapel Hill High School officials are not identifying the suspect, but Principal Eileen Tully informed parents by email that the person will not return to the school.

“The suspect is no longer at school and will not return,” she wrote.

Tully’s statement to parents Thursday evening said administrators contacted police earlier in the week about an allegation of sexual abuse against a student. The Chapel Hill Police Department confirmed it began an investigation Monday into what officers described as sexual battery at the school.

“This is just appalling, to myself, definitely to my friends there who are still going to that school, probably to my brother and his friends,” said a former East Chapel Hill student who asked not to be identified.

“I feel that Ms. Tully, our principal, is doing really well about it, and I have full faith that she can handle the situation.”

“That’s like your place of work, and you’re just screwing around with somebody that’s underage. I can’t believe it. It’s just wild,” Jemil Sanchez said.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System confirmed Friday the dismissal of three staff members this week. None of them were teachers.

“I don’t expect anything like that to happen on campus, so it was shocking,” Andrew Siemienski.

Principal Tully’s statement acknowledged that students and parents have many questions. She said she cannot share additional details at this time due to a legal requirement to protect student and employee confidentiality.

“Please know that my top priority is, and always will be, the safety and protection of my students,” she said.

Police are yet to make any arrests in this ongoing investigation.

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