Laney student accused of sexually assaulting teen under stairwell


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Laney High School student appeared in court for the first time since being charged with sex crimes involving a female student.

16-year-old Darran Latrell Thomas is charged with two counts of second degree sexual offense and one count of second degree kidnapping.

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Prosecution said in court Wednesday that surveillance video showed Thomas and a 16-year-old girl interacting, then going under a stairwell, where the alleged crimes took place. The girl supposedly said no and told him to stop.

The prosecutor says the girl immediately went to the school and reported the incident. They say Thomas later confessed.

Thomas’ mother and two other family members were also in court for his first appearance. Thomas’ mother spoke to the judge for her son, saying he has no prior offenses with law and is not a flight risk.

“I’m asking for mercy from the court,” she said.

She says Thomas later told her that the victim did not tell him no and that they parted ways after the incident supposedly happened.

The prosecutor asked for $100,000 secured bond but Thomas’ mother asked for her son’s bond to be lowered. She told the judge that Thomas has no prior record.

The judge ordered a $50,000 secured bond and electronic monitoring. He cannot be at any New Hanover County high school nor on social media. He is not to have contact with the victim. The judge also ordered him to not leave his house unless he is with his mother at her work.

Thomas was very emotional as he left the courtroom. He and his mother hugged before he left.

In court, the prosecution said Thomas has been suspended from Laney for 10 days.

His next court date is October 17.