A local high school band director accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student did not show up for his first appearance this morning. Instead, an attorney for Christopher Howard appeared before the judge.
33-year-old Christopher Howard posted his $25,000 bond and was released from the Onslow County jail. He was charged Wednesday with felony counts of sex with a student and indecent liberties with a student.
Howard was arrested at Jacksonville High School, where he has worked since 2001.
Thursday morning the case against Howard was continued until July 12th. Attorney Wally Paramore says his client is at home with his wife.
Onslow County deputies say the relationship between the 33 year old band director and the 17 year old girl may have started five years ago.
Onslow County deputies have charged Christopher Howard with three counts of having sex with a student and four counts of taking indecent liberties with a student, according to court records.
The 33-year-old Howard is band director at Jacksonville High School and heads up the Fine Arts Department at the high school. Howard was arrested this morning around 9:30 a.m. at the high school.
He has been at JHS since April 2001 and in 2010 was nominated as teacher of the year for the county. Investigators say Howard is married to an elementary school teacher in Onslow County.
Deputies says they learned Howard and a 17 year old girl have had a relationship since March 25th. A deputy was on patrol May 23rd in the Burton Park area and found two vehicles parked. The teen was allegedly found in Howard's vehicle. The deputy says the girl got out of his car and Howard allegedly left the area.
Investigators say the teen first told deputies she was there meeting a friend. But deputies said they knew otherwise, and the girl then admitted what was really going on.
Howard is being held on a $25,000 bond and has a first court appearance Thursday. The school system says they first have to make contact with the teacher before determining what steps they will take with his employment. Typically, an employee is placed on suspension until a school system investigation is completed.
Howard is not the first band director at Jacksonville High School to be accused of having sex with a student. In 1986 Gene Lloyd pleaded guilty to two counts of crime against nature involving a male student. Lloyd was released after serving about a year in prison.
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