LINCOLNTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Former Lincolnton High School Principal Tony Worley has been charged with multiple counts of indecent liberties and sex activity with a student. Worley, 56, voluntarily resigned last Monday after being suspended.
Worley was suspended last Saturday pending additional investigation by Lincoln County Schools into alleged misconduct with students.
On Friday, June 21, police received a report regarding inappropriate activity between Worley and a former student. The activity started while the person was still a student. Investigators say they identified at least one additional victim during interviews with witnesses.
Worley was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of felony indecent liberties with a student, five counts of felony sexual activity with a student, two counts of felony solicitation of sex with a student, and two counts of solicitation for indecent liberties with a minor. His bond was set at $47,000.
A police warrant details several social media exchanges between Worley and the student he’s accused of having a relationship with. They reportedly used apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Grindr dating from April of this year. The warrant says that in the messages, the student claims Principal Worley sent him nude photos of at least six young males.
Police say the photos were taken in Worley’s house on his bed.
The warrant describes alleged sexual activity between Worley and a former student, and that he was also in an emotional relationship with Worley.
The search warrant was for child pornography and incident liberties with a student.
Police have since searched Worley’s home, cars, and electronic devices. Some of the items they seized include Worley’s bed comforter, a towel and his phones. The bedding is allegedly easily identified as Worley’s bedding which nude subjects were laying on in some of the photos according to the warrant. Right now charges are still pending but the sheriffs office and the state bureau of investigations are involved.
Officials say while on suspension, Worley voluntarily resigned his employment with Lincoln County Schools, effective Monday, June 25, 2019.
As required by Superintendent Dr. Lory D. Morrow, in order to accept his resignation, Worley surrendered any and all professional licenses to be a teacher or school administrator to the North Carolina State Board of Education.
Worley was initially hired by Lincoln County Schools in 2002, and also worked as an assistant principal and director of secondary education over the years.
Lincoln County Schools provided a release via email on the resignation.
“Over the next several days and weeks, Dr. Morrow and her staff will be working diligently to name an acting principal and/or move forward with hiring a new principal for Lincolnton High School. Human Resources and Central Services staff will be supporting school administration to ensure that effective operations of the school continues throughout the summer months,” the release read.
“The Superintendent and Board of Education take student safety very seriously and Lincoln County School officials work closely with law enforcement to investigation allegations of misconduct involving students,” the release read.
Anyone with information related to the matter should contact Human Resources at 704-732-2261 or the Lincolnton Police Department at 704-736-8900.