WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — An Ashley High School teaching assistant fired this week is under criminal investigation.
New Hanover County Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer says deputies are investigating Rebecca Ann Morgan, 25, for allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with an underage person. He said the alleged victim is a 17-year-old female, but would not say if she is a student at Ashley. No charges have been filed, but the investigation, which began April 23, continues, Brewer says.
New Hanover County Schools spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum says Morgan was terminated Wednesday after previously having been suspended with pay.
“We are not authorized to say the reason for the termination,” Quattlebaum wrote in an e-mail to reporters.
According to the school district, Morgan was an Exceptional Children TA first hired in August 2013 at Winter Park Elementary, where she worked until last summer before moving to Ashley. The district suspended Morgan with pay April 24. That changed to a suspension without pay Wednesday. She was fired later that day.
Under state law, the type of suspension and the written dismissal “setting forth the specific acts or omissions that are the basis of the dismissal” are public record. WWAY and other media outlets requested that information this morning.
“According to an interpretation by the NC Attorney General’s Office, a ‘final decision’ has not occurred if the employee has the right to appeal,” Quattlebaum wrote in an e-mail in response to the request for records. “This employee has the right to appeal her termination to the New Hanover County Board of Education under (NC General Statute) 115C-45. If the employee has not requested an appeal to the Board within 30 days, we will consider the termination to be final and at that time will release the termination letter. ”
When reached for comment, attorney James “Buddy” Allard told WWAY due to the investigation he could not provide a comment on behalf of Morgan.