Warrants reveal details of indecent liberties charges

SALISBURY — According to newly released search warrants, a former Boy Scout leader, teacher and coach charged with taking indecent liberties admitted to investigators that he had inappropriately touched boys in his care.

James Paul Barringer III, 51, of Foxfire Drive, told investigators “he had put his hands down the pants of each of the three victims more than once,” the warrant states.

Investigators returned the warrants after searching the Albemarle office of the Central N.C. Council of the Boy Scouts and the Ellis Street office of the Rowan-Salisbury schools for records pertaining to Barringer. He formerly taught at China Grove Middle School.

Barringer told the investigators he was “just trying to make them feel good” and that he thought the boys were asleep each time he did it, the warrant said.

The incidents happened during the past two years at a house at High Rock Lake and in his tent during overnight Boy Scout trips.

The warrant states “the touching consisted of Barringer reaching inside the clothes of the victim[s] that were all pre-teen age,” and touching and stroking them.

One of the victims texted Barringer and told him they knew what he did when he thought the victim was asleep.

Barringer replied, saying he felt dumb and had lost a friend. “I will sleep upstairs next time,” he said.

The victim showed the message to his parents, who then alerted the Rowan County Sheriff’s department.

The warrant also details two other incidents that occurred in the 1990s at a sleep-in church program that were never reported to law enforcement.

In once incident, the victim, a juvenile at the time, said he woke up and Barringer had put his hand in the victim’s pants and was touching the victim’s genitals and did so several times during the night, according to the warrant.

The victim told one of his parents, who informed church officials.

An individual who attended that church at the time told investigators Barringer met with church officials, agreed to seek counseling and left the church as a result, the warrant said.

In the other incident, a China Grove resident reported remembering a similar event at another church with a Boy Scout Troop, where Barringer was accused of touching an underage child during an overnight activity while the child was asleep. The warrant states “Barringer was made to go to counseling and left this church.”

The person wasn’t sure if school officials were ever notified.

The warrants released were for all printed, digital or electronic records of Boy Scouts of America and the Rowan-Salisbury School System.

Records pertaining to his involvement or employment, as well as disciplinary records were to be seized. The warrant also includes lists of his classes, students taught and their class schedules, Scout troops, Boy Scouts taught and “any and all evidence” relating to “any form of child victim abuse.”

Barringer faces a total of seven charges of taking indecent liberties with a child.

On July 16, Barringer was served with six of those counts, and was released from jail after posting a $100,000 secured bond.

Barringer faced an additional charge Thursday for an incident in the 1990s, and was released from the Rowan County Detention Center after securing a $25,000 bond.

Barringer has resigned from his position at China Grove Middle School, where he served as a teacher and coach.

He was also an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 328 at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in China Grove. The Central North Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts has banned him from participating in scouting.

Lt. Chad Moose with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department stated that Barringer was a “very popular teacher, coach and Boy Scout leader,” which “makes the investigation more difficult with the reluctance of witnesses and victim[s] coming forward with the facts and information that shows Barringer assaulted children he was tasked with teaching throughout this career.”

Because the three most recent victims’ names were made public on arrest warrants, the victims have come under public scrutiny on social media sites by individuals who support Barringer.

Moose said such an attack makes it less likely other victims will come forward and “hampers the investigation process.”

The Post does not identify victims of sex crimes.

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