Warrants: Teacher, scout leader accused of molesting three boys

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arrest warrants show the accusations of sex offenses by a local teacher and scout leader involve three victims, all boys.
James Paul Barringer III, 51, of Foxfire Drive, was charged Wednesday with six counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. He made his first court appearance Thursday and was released from the Rowan County jail after posting a $100,000 secured bond.
A Post reporter called Barringer’s home Thursday afternoon to ask for his response to the charges. A woman who answered the phone hung up when the reporter identified herself.
According to the warrants, the offenses occurred between June 1, 2012, and July 4 of this year. The warrants accuse Barringer of molesting one of the boys once, one boy twice and one boy three times.
The warrants don’t specify the boys’ ages or say where the crimes are alleged to have occurred.
Barringer is a China Grove Middle School math teacher and coach and has been a troop leader in the local Boy Scouts program. According to its website, Barringer was an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 328, sponsored by Ebenezer Lutheran Church in China Grove. The church’s pastor did not return a telephone call Thursday.
But an executive with the Boy Scouts council that includes Rowan County said Barringer has been banned from the organization.
“Upon learning of these allegations, we took immediate action to preclude this individual from any future participation in the Scouting program,” Todd Walter, Scout executive and CEO of the Central North Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said in an email to the Post.
The investigation began with a complaint regarding inappropriate sexual activity by Barringer, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said. In a statement, investigators said they have evidence “to support the allegations that involved only one teacher with more than one victim in the pre-teen age range.”
The Rowan-Salisbury School System released a statement late Wednesday calling the alleged crimes “deplorable” and saying that Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody is investigating with law enforcement. Barringer’s current employment status was not available Thursday.
Walter, the Scouting executive, said in his emailed statement the “behavior included in these allegations runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands.”
“The abuse of anyone, especially a child, is intolerable and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who may be a victim of this type of reprehensible behavior. …
“These allegations remind us of the importance to be ever vigilant when it comes to the safety of our youth. The BSA seeks to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive program of education on the subject, the chartered organization leader selection process, criminal background and other checks, policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse,” Walter said.
In court Thursday, District Court Judge Marshall Bickett told Barringer the maximum sentence he could receive, if convicted of the six counts, was 62 months each, or 31 years in prison.
Barringer has retained the Davis law firm to represent him.
Authorities encourage others who may be victims to come forward.
The investigation is ongoing, and authorities ask anyone with information to contact Detective Sara Benfield at 704-216-8739 or Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687.