A Louisiana elementary school teacher remains behind bars on charges of raping one student on campus and videotaping another.
Aubrey “Perry” Norcross, 47, a Benton Elementary School teacher, was arrested Friday and charged with the first degree rape of a child, according to the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office. Two days earlier, the teacher was arrested on a separate offense, one count of video voyeurism, for filming a different student on his cell phone.
Reportedly, Norcross taught physical education and coached the school’s archery team. A sheriff’s office spokesman said a family member of the student purportedly raped on campus filed a report against Norcross which led to an investigation. Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington told the Shreveport Times: “We take these reports of sexual assault and misconduct very seriously…and we encourage children to tell someone they trust, whether it’s their parents, grandparents, principal, or school resource officer about any inappropriate touching or interaction. Tell someone.”
The sheriff’s office has released few details on its ongoing investigation including the age of the alleged victims, according to local news reports. However, the Bossier Parish school system issued a statement saying they were deeply “saddened and angered” over Norcross’ alleged “repugnant” sexual misconduct. A Bossier Parish schools spokeswoman confirmed they hired Norcross in January 2003 and he taught at Benton Elementary since 2004.
On Saturday, Bossier Parish Schools Superintendent Scott Smith held a press conference about the district’s efforts to provide resources to families. He said they hired an outside team of counselors.
“Our district has hired people with expertise to help us through this very rough time,” said Smith.
This included the Arkansas-based Disaster Management International (DMI), according to the Shreveport Times. DMI psychologist Grady Bray, who also spoke to reporters, said numerous families met with his team.
Smith also emphasized the district placed Norcross on unpaid administrative leave when they opened the investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations. Authorities said he used his cell phone to videotape one of the alleged victims.
“It is apparent from the recordings that Aubrey Norcross was using his cellphone during gym class to record the child, without the child’s knowledge, for a lewd or lascivious purposed,” said F. Edward Mouton, an attorney representing one of the children in a statement to the Shreveport Times. According to Mouton, the child did not know that he or she was a victim of the videotaping.
The Shreveport newspaper pointed out the alleged victim’s family reviewed relevant video from Norcross’ cell phone and school surveillance footage obtained by Bossier Parish detectives.
On Tuesday, the school district will hold a community meeting regarding the teacher’s arrest, according to a news alert on the Benton Elementary School website. Bossier Parish police, a team of child psychologists, counselors, and representatives from the Gingerbread House Bossier/Caddo Children’s Advocacy Center will speak to families.
Bossier Parish Sheriff’s set bail for Norcross at $900,000. Of this amount, $200,000 reflected bond for the video voyeurism charge and $700,000 for the one count of first degree rape. As of Monday, the suspect remained in custody at the Bossier Maximum Security Facility.
In first degree rape cases, Louisiana law allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty or mandatory life imprisonment at hard labor with no chance of parole, probation, or suspension of the sentence when an individual is found guilty of this crime. This year, a 38-year-old New Orleans man was convicted for repeatedly raping a girl under 13 years old over four years. A district judge sentenced him to two life sentences for his two first degree rape convictions.
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