Source: Arrest warrant issued for former JCSU employee in 20-year-old rape allegation

(Coleen Harry/WBTV)
(Coleen Harry/WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A source from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says an arrest warrant has been issued for a former employee at Johnson C. Smith University in the case of an alleged rape that occurred 20 years ago on the JCSU campus..

The suspect, 59-year-old Michael Peterson, reportedly stopped working at the college 19 years ago.

A Charlotte woman filed a report in December claiming she was sexually assaulted while she was a teenager attending a program at the school.

In an interview with WBTV, Queen Amani Miller says it was a JCSU employee who raped her in a series of attacks.

A spokesperson for JCSU says the University "became aware of Ms. Miller's allegations shortly before she filed a police report in late 2017."

In a statement to WBTV, JCSU says "the University has cooperated with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police in its investigation" and that the suspect "was employed by the University until about 1999."

Miller, 35 years old, says she never told anyone about the rapes because she was a scared teenager.

"I didn't know how to talk about it. And even to this day I just got the courage to even discuss it" she said.

Miller recalls 1998-1999 when she was an outgoing teen on the honor roll with aspirations of attending college. She says her mother enrolled her in Upward Bound at JCSU.

"My mom just wanted me to have every opportunity to thrive and to be college bound" she said.

She joined other youngsters at JCSU, where they stayed on campus during the week and went home on the weekends.

"We basically were like little college students living on campus going to school" the 35 year old recalled.

But, then something happened.

Miller says shortly after she arrived, a man who the students called professor, called her into his office.

"And I recall him calling me to his office to discuss my classes and my grades there and while I was there – the first time I got there he began taking off my clothes," she said. "Like immediately after I stepped in his office he just started rubbing on me, feeling on me, removing my clothes, telling me I was beautiful and all these things and just began to have sex with me."

"And I just remember being shocked. I had never had sex before" she said. "He was someone that I trusted in. I didn't have my parents around."

"I just remember standing there like a statue and he just basically had his way with me and that began him, that was the beginning so many times of him doing that over and over of being in the program," she said.

According to Miller, when the program took students to Atlanta to visit colleges, the JCSU employee called her to his hotel room and had sex with her. 
She says when she returned to Charlotte she decided to leave the program

"Not because I completed the program but because I had enough of him having sex with me. I couldn't take it any longer" she says.

Miller says she never said anything to anyone.

"You know we never received training when we were in this program. I had never received  any type of education if you're assaulted, raped, if someone in the program touches you, does something to you," she said. "I never received that then unfortunately. I just recall being a 15 year old girl shocked and not knowing how to deal with this. I began to shut down."

She says she decided to come forward two decades later after hearing members of the U.S. Women's Gymnastic Team come forward to tell how a team doctor sexually assaulted them.

"I noticed girl after girl coming out. I just began to bawl in my house," Miller said in an interview from her living room. "I started crying.. It was like a light bulb moment for me and I knew then I could no longer hold this in. I had to share it. I had to share it so I could heal properly, so people would know in the community that this happened at Johnson C. Smith University.

She first told her husband, then she contacted JCSU before filing a police report.

"I felt like people needed to know. I felt like I was doing myself an injustice and the community an injustice by not speaking this ."

CMPD says it's an active case. Crimes against Children Unit still investigating.

JCSU told WBTV that the employee stopped working at the university in 1999 and that the school has cooperated with CMPD.

Miller is waiting to see what happens with the investigation.

"I waited all these years which I do regret that I didn't have the courage then, that I was ashamed, that I was scared, that I didn't know how to handle it then," she said. "And now I so regret it. Learning now that waiting so many years it changes things and you're up against so many things that you necessarily won't have to go through if you had the courage to report it then. That's something I now have to live with."

Now, a wife, mother, and community and school volunteer, Miller says she's cognizant of watching out for kids.

"I'm responsible for protecting every child I come encounter with. This has to stop," she said. "If I can help another girl or boy who are minors who are victims of sexual assaults know it's okay go tell someone. If you can't tell your parents in your home, if you can't tell that educational organization that you're apart of – find someone that you can trust and you can go tell."

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