Lincolnton High gets new leader after former principal charged with student sex crimes

Lincolnton High gets new leader after former principal charged with student sex crimes
Preston Clarke will serve as the new Lincolnton High School principal, Lincoln County Schools announced Tuesday. (Source: Lincoln County Schools | Facebook)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Preston Clarke will serve as the new Lincolnton High School principal, Lincoln County Schools announced Tuesday.

Tony Worley resigned as the Lincolnton High School principal in June after being suspended amid misconduct allegations.

Last week, Worley was charged with multiple counts of indecent liberties and sex activity with a student.

Worley was hired by Lincoln County Schools in 2002 and also worked as an assistant principal and director of secondary education over the years.

“The Lincoln County Board of Education has approved the hiring of Mr. Preston Clarke as the new Principal at Lincolnton High School,” Lincoln County Schools posted Tuesday.

The Lincoln County Board of Education has approved the hiring of Mr. Preston Clarke as the new Principal at Lincolnton...

Posted by Lincoln County Schools, NC on Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Clarke, a graduate of Appalachian State University, served as assistant principal at Watauga High School for three years before becoming principal at Valle Crucis School.

“Welcome to the Wolfpack Mr. Clarke!” the district posted.

Former principal Worley was 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.

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.

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