Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office detectives were back on campus Monday at SouthWest Edgecombe High School as an investigation into rape allegations at the school continue.

Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson said one juvenile suspect has been charged with sexual assault. It is not known if the arrested juvenile was a student.

The timeline of events has not been made public, but on Monday, WRAL-TV talked with the father of a 15-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted last week.

The man said his daughter doesn’t feel safe going back to the school after what she says happened to her.

The father said his daughter said she was walking the halls when a group of students told her the principal wanted to see her.

“They proceeded to follow her to the auditorium, pushed her into a janitor’s closet or some kind of closet, two of them did, and forcibly removed her pants and assaulted her in her genital areas,” he told the TV station.

He said she didn’t want to go back to the school and he didn’t want her to return.

“My daughter is traumatized,” he said. “She does not want to go back to any public school.”


The sheriff’s office added that it was investigating two other alleged cases of rape. It was not known if the cases are connected or how many victims are involved.

In a statement attributed to Edgecombe County Public Schools by WRAL-TV, a district spokesperson said, “The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority and we take all student matters very seriously. School and district level administration immediately began coordinating with the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office to investigate after the sexual assault cases were reported.”

Atkinson said officers involved in the investigation are “taking this very seriously.”

WRAL reported that it had talked with parents of some students who said they felt district school officials were impeding the investigation.

The 15-year-old’s father said he didn’t think the school was doing enough to help protect students.

“They’re making the victims in the matter feel like they’re the guilty ones. And that is not right. They already have enough trauma to live with, and the principal’s not helping matters any in this incident,” he said. “The school has sat there and told me that there have been no incidents reported of any sexual assaults this year.”

In a follow-up report, WRAL said Atkinson had called them after they aired the father’s comments and said that as the investigation progressed, he doesn’t believe some of the comments made were based on facts.

Lauren Lampron is the school principal.