Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sex offenders get access to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 2:33 PM

This week, two alleged sex offenders were discovered getting close to kids in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. One was a teacher. The other was a thief with a key to a local school.

According to The Charlotte Observer, James Edward Meskill, 38, who worked at J.H. Gunn Elementary School and lives in Cabarrus County, was charged Wednesday with sexual exploitation of a minor and a first-degree sex offense.

CMS Police Chief Bud Cesena said Meskill, who resigned immediately, was hired in February and cleared the CMS background check.

"There was nothing that would have given us any indication," Cesena said. He said there is no sign that he did anything inappropriate with students, though the investigation by Cabarrus County authorities continues.

Cesena said Meskill lent his camcorder to a Gunn teacher who is working on national board certification, which requires teachers to videotape lessons. The teacher contacted CMS police when she saw the sexual material.

Cesena said the camcorder held video of Meskill attempting intercourse with the young child.

"This is just one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen in my entire police career," said Cesena, a former officer with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

School officials said there is no evidence that Meskill, who had been a CMS employee for two months, had inappropriate contact with students. He resigned after his arrest.

In an unrelated incident at Northwest School of The Arts, a sex offender is accused of stealing instruments (the musical kind) from the school.

WCNC reported that Samuel Gilchrist, 43, and a registered sex offender, had a master key to the school and have been stealing instruments since January.

Of the 11 instruments, 10 were owned by the children themselves,” said Officer Caleb Komis.He said that Gilchrist had a master key to the school on his key chain when he was arrested, but they don’t know how he got that key.

“We’re working with CMS on that,” Komis said.

Police don’t believe any children were present when Gilchrist was allegedly in the school. But that doesn’t make parents feel any better.

“My thing is, he could have hid anywhere in the school,” said parent Tanisha Fant.

Ashanti Pierce, who was using a tenor saxophone that was stolen, said students had feared this was an "inside job" but didn't expect this.

"To hear that somebody had a key to the school, it's kind of baffling," she said. "It makes me angry really to see that. I mean, they are stealing from kids, who basically--this is our life at the moment--so why take instruments from high school students?"

In this case as well, CMS reports that no children were harmed. Still, it send chills down your spine to know sex offenders have such easy access to children.

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