Custodian placed recording device in Lee County school bathroom, sheriff says

Toney Waddell Feaster (Lee County Sheriff's Office)

SANFORD, N.C. (WNCN) – A school custodian lost his job and faces criminal charges after deputies said he placed a camera in a school restroom.

Lee County investigators charged 28-year-old Toney Waddell Feaster with secret peeping using an electronic device. A faculty member at East Lee Middle School found a cell phone that was actively recording in a private staff restroom.

Sheriff Tracy Carter said the employee who found the phone was the only person recorded on that device. Investigators said the incident did not involve any students.

Deputies arrested Feaster Wednesday and he posted a $5,000 bond. Lee County Schools terminated his employment the same day. East Lee Middle School’s interim principal led a staff meeting Thursday to review information released by the Sheriff’s Office and discuss the details the school would share with parents.

Parents received automated telephone messages Thursday at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., which said:

This is a message from East Lee Middle School.

On October 11, 2017, an employee at East Lee Middle School was dismissed following an investigation into misconduct. While personnel investigations are confidential under state law, we want to provide you with the information we are authorized to disclose. We can assure you that the employee in question has been dismissed, and that the misconduct did not involve students in any way.

Additional information may be released by the Lee County’s Sheriff’s Office.

Please know that Lee County Schools takes the conduct of our staff very seriously and expects the very best from everyone involved in our schools.

Please call the school office if you have questions.

Some parents said they were relieved to learn the incident did not involve any children, but were surprised to learn from the media details about the purported peeping.

“I got a call around maybe 4 or so about a custodian fired over there for some improper involvement, really not sure what he was doing, it didn’t say what it was” Lindsey Baker said. Two of her sons attend East Lee Middle School. “It said it didn’t involve any children or anything like that, so that was a relief to me, but it’s just a sad situation when you have your kids going to school and you think that it’s a safe place to be outside of home, it’s just really worrisome.”

Travis McLaughlin’s nephew goes to ELMS, and his elementary school-aged son is a future ELMS student.

“That shouldn’t happen at a middle school. It could have been in a bathroom somewhere where it could have gotten to a smaller child. That’s embarrassing,” McLaughlin said.

“What if they’d never found the camera? It might have been in the girls’ PE locker room, anything. It’s sad.”

McLaughlin and Baker said this incident makes them want to be more involved with the school and better know the people there.

The Lee County Board of Education recognized East Lee Middle School custodians on Tuesday by giving ELMS the county’s Clean School of the Month award.


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