Erwin Middle School teacher charged with two counts of taking indecent liberties with student

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A man has been charged with sex crimes involving a child as the alleged victim, according to the Rowan Sheriff's Office.

Deputies arrested Mark Robert Dexter, 42, in the 100 block of Brookstone Way in Granite Quarry on Wednesday night.

Friday morning, Dexter was faced with a second charge of indecent liberties with a student. It is associated with the same victim from the first charge, according to the sheriff.

On Monday of this week the Rowan County Sheriff's Office received a complaint from the family of an Erwin Middle School student regarding inappropriate messages being exchanged between the juvenile and a teacher, according to the Rowan County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators say they found that the teacher was communicating to the student via Facebook messenger, and that the communication involved content that placed the two in what appeared to be an online relationship.

From evidence obtained, the available messages date back to September 9, and indicate the teacher was making plans for the student to come to his home; however no evidence suggests it had occurred yet, according to the report.

Investigators said that over the course of eight days thousands of messages were exchanged resulting in over 400 pages of evidence in the case.

Date and timestamps of the evidence show that Dexter was sending messages while he was still at the school from his personal cell phone.

Deputies said that the alleged victim was not a student of Dexter, but was known to him in the school setting.

The report says that detective Barkley confronted Dexter with the report, and he admitted to exchanging the messages with the victim.  Digital evidence from both the victim and suspect's electronic devices were obtained along with the data from Facebook.

Investigators worked closely with the Rowan County District Attorney's Office, and on Wednesday a warrant was obtained charging Dexter with taking indecent liberties with a student.

Investigators arrested Dexter late Wednesday night at his Granite Quarry home and he was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $150,000 secured bond.

After the second charge, Dexter was given an additional $75,000 secured bond.

This is still an open and active investigation and investigators are continuing to review evidence and speak with potential witnesses.  Additional charges may be pending, according to Captain John Sifford.

Late Thursday deputies charged Dexter with one count of taking indecent liberties with a child.  Bond was increased to $225,000.

Also on Thursday afternoon the Rowan-Salisbury Schools released the following statement through Public Information Officer Rita Foil:

Erwin Principal Daniel Herring has met with his staff and is communicating thru various avenues with parents in the Erwin community. 

In addition, Rowan-Salisbury Schools is supporting the Erwin students and staff with additional counselors for as long as needed.

While we can not address specific incidents, we are sad and heartbroken anytime we receive reports of inappropriate conduct towards any of our students.

We have policies and procedures in place to handle these situations immediately. We are also fortunate to have excellent relationships with law enforcement as we partner together to conduct investigations and to keep our students and schools safe.

We will continue moving forward in keeping safety a top priority in our schools.

Dexter was hired by the Rowan-Salisbury Schools in July, 2004.  He resigned on Wednesday.

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