Lawsuit targets Pickens

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

HENDERSON – A former Northampton County educational administrator is the target of a sexual harassment lawsuit in Vance County.

Dr. James W. Pickens, who served over 10 years within Northampton County Public Schools, is being sued by a Southern Vance High School teacher who alleges sexual harassment, battery, sexual assault and other charges.

According to a Henderson Daily Dispatch story filed on their website, Pickens served as principal of Southern Vance High School. That story went on to say that Pickens submitted his resignation to the Vance County Board of Education. The board voted Monday night to accept that resignation.

The WRAL TV-5 website reported the teacher filed the civil suit in Vance County Superior Court alleging that since March, Pickens has made sexually suggestive and degrading comments to her at school.

In the complaint, the woman alleged Pickens grabbed her, pulled her to him, forcibly kissed her and fondled her.

The complaint also claimed Pickens has a history of committing similar acts against women he supervises.

The Vance County Board of Education and Vance County Schools Superintendent Norman Shearin are also named as defendants in the lawsuit, according to the Daily Dispatch.

Pickens served as an Assistant Superintendent for a number of years in Northampton County. He was eventually named as Interim Superintendent before taking that permanent position for a little over one year.

In an unexpected move, he resigned Feb. 7, 2005 as Northampton Superintendent during a board of education meeting held at Rich Square-Creecy Elementary School.

The Northampton School Board reconciled the remaining year of Pickens’ contract, agreeing to pay him $48,600 as a settlement to any contractual rights he might have.