Former HCHS principal charged with sex crimes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2003

WINTON – The former principal of Hertford County High School is free on bond after his arrest on Monday for alleged sexual misconduct with HCHS students.

Larry Ellis Jr., 37, turned himself in at the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office here Monday evening after warrants were drawn for his arrest.

Ellis, who listed his address as 329 Garris St. in Ayden, was formally charged with five felony counts of indecent liberties with students and five misdemeanor counts of soliciting crimes against nature. His $140,000 bond was posted later Monday night.

He returned to Winton on Tuesday morning for his first court appearance. There, a Sept. 2 date was scheduled for his probable cause hearing.

Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan reported that four students filed the sexual allegations against Ellis. Vaughan said it was to his understanding, based upon the information gained through an investigation, that the alleged sexual activity between Ellis and the students dated back as far as September of last year.

&uot;The latest accusation filed by a student came on June 24, 2003,&uot; said Sheriff Vaughan. &uot;All the accusations were for on-campus (sexual) activity.&uot;

The investigation revealed all of the students were males between the ages of 16-18.

Ellis resigned as HCHS principal effective June 30 after submitting his letter of resignation on May 8 to the Hertford County Board of Education. He had served as principal at HCHS since May 24, 2001.

Hertford County Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Deloatch revealed that the Central Office (Board of Education) was notified of the allegations by Carson Watford, acting head administrator of HCHS.

&uot;Upon hearing about the allegations, we immediately started the investigation process,&uot; stated Deloatch. &uot;After listening to the complaints and talking with the appropriate parties, we immediately notified the Hertford County Sheriff’s Department. It also became apparent that we must notify other legal and state officials of the allegations.&uot;

Deloatch confirmed that at the time of the allegations, Ellis had already resigned from the Hertford County Public School system. He also confirmed that professional counseling services had been arranged by the school system for the students involved in the alleged crime.

&uot;I want to assure our parents, students and staff that the Hertford County Public School system takes such allegations very seriously,&uot; added Deloatch. &uot;In all situations, we will investigate and take appropriate action to protect our students and staff. Our children, regardless of age, are our responsibility and we will do whatever is necessary to protect them.&uot;

Deloatch praised the students involved in this situation for coming forward with their accusations.

&uot;I am grateful that our students trusted us enough to come forth and share their concerns with us,&uot; concluded Deloatch.

In the meantime, Ellis’ employment with another school system may hang in the balance.

According to confirmed sources in Duplin County, Ellis has been hired as principal at EE Smith Middle School in Kenansville. The sources revealed that Ellis has not been at the school for the past two days.

Captain Tim Lassiter, Lt. Raymond Eure and Lt. Mike Stephenson are handling the ongoing investigation for the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office.