Ellis case sent to Grand Jury

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

WINTON – The fate of Larry Ellis Jr. now rests in the hands of the Hertford County Grand Jury.

Ellis, Hertford County High School’s former principal who was charged last month with sexual misconduct against four students, waived his right for a probable cause hearing here Tuesday in Hertford County District Court.

Standing before Judge Thomas Newbern, Ellis was informed that the five misdemeanor charges of soliciting crimes against nature had been dismissed by the District Attorney’s office. The five felony counts of indecent liberties with students will be sent to the Grand Jury for consideration.

According to the Hertford County Clerk of Court’s office, the Grand Jury is expected to convene next week. It is not known if the evidence in the Ellis case will be heard at that time.

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. The latest accusation, according to Vaughan, occurred on June 24 of this year.

The Sheriff also reported that all the accusations were for on-campus (sexual) activity and involved males between the ages of 16-18.

Ellis stepped down 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 said the Central Office (Board of Education) was notified of the allegations by Carson Watford, then the acting head administrator of HCHS. Deloatch confirmed that at the time of the allegations, Ellis had already resigned from the Hertford County Public School system.

Ellis, who listed an Ayden (Pitt County) address, turned himself in to the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office on the afternoon of Aug. 11. He posted a $140,000 bond and was released later that night.

After resigning from HCHS, Ellis was hired as principal at E.E. Middle School in Kenansville. Upon learning of the allegations against Ellis, the Duplin County Board of Education suspended him, with pay, pending the outcome of the charges.