A former Lakewood High School faculty member has been charged with indecent liberties offenses following a months-long investigation by Sampson County Sheriff’s officials, who said the educator had an “inappropriate relationship” with an underage student.
“On March 23, Lakewood High School received information concerning a potential inappropriate relationship between a student who was under the age of 18 and faculty member,” said Lt. Marcus Smith. “The school immediately took action and contacted Sampson County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the allegations.”
The school also placed the staff member, Otis Taylor Saulsberry, 47, on leave pending an investigation. On March 26, he resigned his position. Saulsberry, retired from the Armed Forces, was reportedly an ROTC instructor at Lakewood.
During the investigation, Smith said, “enough evidence was obtained to proceed with charges against the suspect.”
Saulsberry, whose address is listed as 2028 Ashridge Drive, Fayetteville, was charged Thursday with indecent liberties with a student and indecent liberties with a child. Warrants were issued July 12, according to reports. Saulsberry turned himself in Thursday at the Sampson County Magistrate’s Office and was served with charges.
Sheriff’s officials declined to release any further information.
Saulsberry was placed under $10,000 unsecured bond. He has a court date of July 27.
The charges against Saulsberry come less than two months after another former Lakewood teacher was charged in a similar case.
Back in May, a 26-year-old former Lakewood High School agriculture teacher was charged with indecent liberties following a complaint by an 18-year-old student, who reported “inappropriate activity” between the two. The teacher resigned May 14 and was charged less than two weeks later.
He was placed under $2,500 unsecured bond for that charge.
Even though the alleged victim was 18 years of age and considered an adult under North Carolina law, “the law prohibits inappropriate relationships between students and school staff,” law officials said at the time.
Even as that case was unfolding, Saulsberry had already resigned and was being investigated as part of a separate case involving a Lakewood faculty member.
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.