Special needs teacher faces sex charges involving student

Nicole Chapman (Photo courtesy of the Cleveland County Detention Center)
Nicole Chapman (Photo courtesy of the Cleveland County Detention Center)

Charlotte, NC - CLEVELAND COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A former teacher at a special needs school in Cleveland County who is accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student appeared in court on Thursday for the first time to face the charges against her.

Nichole Chapman, 28, started teaching at North Shelby School in 2002.  That's where the student she is accused of having sex with went to school.

On Wednesday, Chapman was charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a student, and two counts of sex offense on a student.

During her court appearance on Thursday, attorney Katherine Haen was appointed to represent Chapman.  Her next court date is set for June 17.

Chapman remains in the Cleveland County Jail under a $75,000 secured bond.

On Wednesday, Chapman denied doing anything wrong.

"I'm innocent," she said.

Chapman said the reason she is in this "predicament" is because of racism.  Chapman is white and the student in which she is accused of having a relationship is a 19-year-old black male.

WBTV spoke with the student who said his relationship with Chapman was consensual.  He said they had gone out on dates and that they were in love.

"I love her, she loves me," Davaughia Sniper said.  "So as far as that goes, this ain't going to stop me from seeing her - so it don't matter."

A spokesperson for Cleveland County Schools said Chapman resigned Monday from her job at North Shelby School.  That facility teaches students from Pre-K to 21 years old.  Those students are placed there because they are mentally and physically challenged.

Sniper said neither he, nor Chapman are guilty of committing a crime.

"If it's love, then it's love - can't nobody stop that," he said.

Sniper's family doesn't see anything wrong with his relationship with Chapman.  They argue since Sniper is not a minor, there should be no crime.

Police say regardless of the student's age, the law prohibits teachers from having a relationship of any kind with a student.  The Shelby Police Department is continuing its investigation.

"It was my decision," Sniper said. "She [Chapman] said okay."

Nichole Chapman's husband, Michael, said he was married to her for 12 years and he left after finding out about the affair.  He told WBTV he is in the middle of a child custody case with her.

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