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Accused teacher to appear in court Thursday

Staff report
SPENCER ó The call that led to the investigation and arrest of a North Rowan High School teacher Tuesday came from the family of his alleged victim, according to Police Chief Robert D. Bennett.
Bobby Eric Sharpe, 32, of 1022 Fourth Creek Landing Drive, Statesville, is charged with 28 counts of sexual activity with a student and 12 counts of statutory sexual offense.
“The student was at North Rowan and there is no indication any other students were involved at this point,” Bennett said Wednesday morning.
Members of the girl’s family, who are not from Spencer, reported the consensual relationship and have been working with police throughout the investigation, Bennett said.
Police got the tip on June 3 and Officer Tony Hinson, the school resource officer at North Rowan, was assigned to the case.
The affair was over by the time the family found out about it, Bennett said. The girl was 15 when the affair started and is 16 now.
Warrants were drawn up Monday and Sharpe turned himself in Tuesday. He submitted his resignation to North Rowan Principal Rodney Bass on June 5, according to information released Wednesday by the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
Bennett said the State Bureau of Investigation computer forensic team will look for evidence on Sharpe’s home computers, which investigators took from his home. Bennett said he does not believe child pornography will be found.
Investigators also seized greeting cards that Bennett said the student sent the teacher.
Sharpe is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center under $200,000 bond. He is scheduled to have a first appearance in court today.
Sharpe had been employed at North Rowan since July 27, 2000, the school system said. He taught English.
Sharpe is the third Rowan-Salisbury School System instructor to be charged this year with having an inappropriate relationship or contact with a student.
In January, authorities said East Rowan High School band director Brian Andrew Messenger was arrested on his way to meet a 16-year-old female student with whom he intended to have sex. Messenger, 24, of Kannapolis, met the girl at a band camp and communicated with her using the Internet, authorities said. He was charged with taking indecent liberties with a student.
Ricky Jelen, a 46-year-old Concord resident, was charged in February with two counts of taking indecent liberties with two students while he was an instructor at West Rowan High School.

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