Teacher charged in choking incident

Published 4:13 pm Saturday, March 28, 2009

WINDSOR – A former staff member at Uplift Academy is facing charges of assaulting a student at the alternative school.

Johnnie Cale, 42, of Williamston was arrested Thursday and charged with assault by strangulation and misdemeanor child abuse as a result of an alleged incident at the school Wednesday.

“Chief (Rodney) Hoggard received a telephone call from Bertie Memorial Hospital informing us that a student was there who had allegedly been assaulted by a staff member at his school,” said Sgt. Ricky Morris of the Windsor Police Department. “The chief contacted Det. (D.) Outlaw and he and I reported to the hospital.”

Sgt. Morris said statements given by the juvenile alleged Cale had grabbed him in a choke lock until he passed out. He recovered after a few moments, he said. A second staff member, who accompanied the juvenile to the hospital, also gave a statement to officers.

“The (other) staff member indicated he walked into the room after hearing commotion and found the juvenile basically waking up,” Sgt. Morris said.

The sergeant then went to Uplift Academy seeking to interview Cale about the incident.

“I was told he had been relieved of his duties,” Sgt. Morris said. “We contacted the Williamston Police Department and they made contact with him.”

Cale talked to Det. Outlaw by telephone Thursday and then went to the Windsor Police Department for an interview.

“He basically said the student had been disruptive all day,” Sgt. Morris said. “He took him out of the class to speak with him privately at which time the student began to verbally assault him and push him.”

Sgt. Morris said Cale gave a similar account to the juvenile’s about what happened next.

“Det. Outlaw drew warrants and he was arrested on the two charges,” Sgt. Morris said. “He went before a magistrate and had his bond set at $500 secured.”

Cale was released on bond.